Holt multiple sclerosis sufferer’s new writing career sparked by mobility scooter
When nature lover Roger Chamberlain was diagnosed with the neurological condition multiple sclerosis, he resigned himself to a sedentary life spent reading and watching television.
But, two years ago, the gift of a 20-year-old mobility scooter not only allowed him to rekindle his love of the great outdoors; it also uncovered a hidden talent for storytelling and sparked a new career as an author.
Sheringham-born Roger, 59, worked in banking for 30 years, spending most of his spare time pursuing hobbies including sailing, climbing and walking.
In the 1970s, he helped form the National Trust Volunteers and spent many hours carrying out conservation work at Sheringham Park.
Multiple sclerosis can cause fatigue, speech , memory vision and mobility problems and, with the condition making it increasingly difficult for Roger to walk, in 2006 he was forced to give up work and found himself sitting at home with very little to do.
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However, after being given an ancient and cumbersome former National Trust scooter – which he christened Hetty Hummer - Roger once again found himself able to get out and about.
'It is like a tank,' he explained. 'And I found I could go anywhere on it, even through the woods and to Holt Country Park.'
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A trip to the North Norfolk Railway's annual 1940s weekend inspired the first of a series of stories based on 'Hetty' and, once he started writing, Roger, who lives with his wife Katrina at Holt, just could not stop.
To date, he has written nearly 30 stories, with genres ranging from detective and comedy, to fantasy and historical fiction.
'Before this, I had never written anything longer than my CV, but the one thing my MS had given me was lots of time,' he said.
Roger emailed his tales to family and friends, among whom was author and former Eastern Daily Press reporter Anthony Grey, who co-founded Norwich-based publishers Tagman Press.
'Tony told me that he recognised the scribbling of a unique writer and actively encouraged me to write more stories,' Roger said. 'It has given me a new lease of life as, instead of sitting watching television, I can go off into a fantasy world and write to my heart's content.'
A short story entitled A Message for Freddie has just been published as an e-book, with more to follow, including a children's book telling the tale of Christmas elves Jimmy and Riddlesworth.
'More stories are arriving all the time,' Roger said. 'My head must be busier than Norwich railway station!'
A Message for Freddie, by Roger Chamberlain, is available from online booksellers including www.amazon.co.uk For more information, visit www.tagmanpress.co.uk