Former Portsmouth FC player struck down with Parkinson's at 46 releases debut novel

A FORMER Pompey reserve player who was struck down with Parkinson's Disease at the age of just 46 has fulfilled a life-long ambition after penning his first novel – despite barely being able to type.

Sunday, 24th January 2021, 11:45 am

Dave Morton, who played for Portsmouth reserves in 1979-80, wrote the maritime fantasy The Lost Treasure of Blackbeard during lockdown. The tale was so compelling he even had two publishers to pick from before deciding on Pegasus Publishers Ltd.

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The 59-year-old, who was commercial manager of Pompey between 1996-2000, will see his debut novel launched on Thursday.

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Dave Morton with his debut novel The Lost Treasure of Blackbeard

The book is a swashbuckling pirate journey of treasure maps and shipwrecks marooned on a desert island set in early 1700.

The story also takes in the finale of Lord Nelson's illustrious life and the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. ‘Take a deep breath, as the voyage really begins when the boys explore their new home and the old parts of the city of Portsmouth, which is steeped in maritime history,’ the book blurb says.

‘They befriend a knowledgeable old sea dog who helps them reach a fantastic conclusion that only dreams are made of..’

Dave says The Lost Treasure of Blackbeard is aimed for for young and old old who enjoy pirates, history, adventure and problem solving.

Dave Morton's new book The Lost Treasure of Blackbeard

‘It is in the mould of Harry Potter and is a bit like a combination of Robinson Crusoe meets The Goonies,’ he said.

‘It is aimed at children and young adults but hopefully older people will enjoy it too. It is an action-packed story that has naval references.’

Dave, of Waterlooville, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007 but remains upbeat despite his condition worsening.

‘I get low days and suffer cramps all over my body, insomnia where I have to keep walking round the house at night because I can’t keep still. I wanted to make use of the time and turn my situation into a positive by writing the book,’ he said.

‘On a good day I can do some typing until the cramps kick in. I also dictated to my wife who typed for me and used dictation software as well when I couldn’t type.’

Dave, who also played for Norwich reserves, says his book shows that people with limiting conditions can achieve success.

‘Parkinson’s kills your quality of life. Being a former professional sportsman it has been devastating,’ he said.

‘There are times when I am shaking so much I can’t clean my teeth or get myself dressed. But being a competitive person I say to myself: “I’m not going to let this win.”’

Over recent years, Dave and his family have fundraised for Parkinson’s UK – including skydiving, trekking up Snowdon, a sponsored field gun run with ex-naval field gunners and Parkinson’s sufferers, as well as organising charity balls and quiz nights.

Dave was commercial manager at Pompey in the late ‘90s during the club’s administration. He said: ‘We were there when Terry Venables was at the club and then when Milan Mandaric came in.’

The book will be available to buy from Waterstones in Commercial Road and is also on Amazon.

When lockdown restrictions are lifted, Dave also plans on a book signing at Waterstones and Pompey icon John Westwood’s book store The Petersfield Bookstore. ‘I will sign a few copies at home when I’m able to and take them down for people and will also have selfies,’ he said.

The book is available for pre-order online at Amazon, Waterstones and WHSmith.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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