The ‘story behind the story‘ of Trish Vickers and her incredible achievement in writing the novel, Grannifer’s Legacy, has touched the hearts of so many people around the world, and completely and utterly captivated ours too.
We are deeply sad to pass on the news that she has just lost her valiant battle against breast cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family.
We were privileged to have spent some time with them last night, we made cups of tea and said our last goodbye to Trish, as she prepared to set off on her next adventure.
It was evident how important completing Grannifer’s Legacy and getting it published had been in Trish’s life. Everyone spoke with such pride and astonishment at her tenacity and determination to do so. Trish would often read back bits of the story to them as she sought comment and approval on the characters and story line. I think the very act of Trish writing it, gave people around her such a boost of confidence helping them believe they could achieve anything they set their minds to; she certainly made me feel that way.
In a few short weeks, there will be copies on the shelves of the British Library, the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Library of Trinity College Dublin and the National Library of Wales. When Simon told Trish we’d be sending them a copy, she held his hand tight and beamed a smile back at him; she was a proper author with a proper website and her own ISBN.
Trish Vickers isn’t a lady to shy away from a challenge.
At 52, she sadly lost her sight through diabetes, but she had a burning ambition to write a novel and blindness wasn’t going to stand in her way.
She employed the most innovative way to achieve her goal and armed with a simple clipboard, she added rows and rows of elastic bands that acted as line markers. They gave her the framework she needed to put pen to paper, tap into her imagination and write out her story, Grannifer’s Legacy.
Her son Simon and friend Carole Head kindly typed up her handwritten manuscript until one day, a serious problem blighted her valiant efforts. 26 pages were written on as she continued to tell her story, but when her son looked at the paper she gave him, there was nothing on it; the pen had run out of ink.
It looked as though all was lost until someone came up with the idea of contacting the Dorset Police HQ at Winfrith to see if their fingerprint and forensics team could help.
The officers kindly got to work on the blank papers during their breaks and in a short space of time, they, ‘cracked the code’ and produced a digital copy of Trish’s missing pages. This incredibly uplifting article was printed in newspapers all over the world.
In the 11th April 2012 edition of the Bridport and Lyme News, Trish said: “I think they used a combination of various lights at different angles to see if they could get the impression made by my pen. I am so happy, pleased and grateful. It was really nice of them and I want to thank them for helping me out.”
She was absolutely delighted, because she could at last get back to writing her story, the process of which had become even more of a saving grace as she coped with the daily rigours of not being able to see. Being blind gave Trish a completely different world to live in, one where she enjoyed the journey deep into her own imagination.
Cut to the 16th February 2017, Trish was in the local paper again with a deeply tragic update and a heartfelt plea: she had finished her painstaking, gargantuan effort to finish writing Grannifer’s Legacy but had also been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rene Gerrets from the Bridport and Lyme News reported that Trish’s daughter Heidi said: “Mum really wanted to see if she could get it published in time to present it to her mum who is 90 this May. But sadly we don’t know if she’s even got that long.”
Her friend Trevor Chambers, a Bridport Blind Club volunteer, regularly sat with Trish reading the story back to her. He also wrote a foreword for the novel and wants Trish to have her dream realised. He told Rene, “We were hoping that once the book was finished some of the publishers who were interested all those years ago would come back but no one’s pursued that avenue yet.”
This article came to the attention of some of our local literary friends and in an update to the story published on the 23rd February, Rene Gerrets was at last delighted to report that there had been a flood of offers made to help Trish get her work into print. A crowdfunding campaign had been set in motion and the kind donations were really lifting Trish’s spirits and fuelling her hopes that it would finally happen. However, she was becoming weaker too as the illness continued to take its toll on her body. Time was absolutely of the essence now.
This was the point where some of our mutual friends got in touch to see if we could help. At the time of first contact, we were completely and utterly drowning in words, producing the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology 2017 but the story was just too heartbreaking and she was clearly a lovely soul and a talented author who was very down on her luck.
True to form, Rene from the Bridport and Lyme News popped an update to the story in today’s paper and as I write this, Simon and I are seeing who has drawn the short straw and which one of us is going to cook tea, while the other cracks on with typesetting the manuscript and building the website!
We should have some really good news for Trish in a few more days and we’re also busy pulling a book launch together for her. It won’t be in a shop as she’s just too poorly unfortunately – instead, we’ll be bringing a lovely book launch to Trish! I’m hoping to have representatives from a couple of local bookshops and I’m hopeful Rene will be there to cover it as well. I know it’s dreadfully sad, but this is actually a good news story, packed with hope and encouragement. The Bridport and Lyme News have done a wonderful job of giving it a positive boost in their paper and online. It has helped the final piece of the jigsaw fall into place.
Trish is now surrounded by family and friends and has some wonderful things to think about. She knows the power of positive thought when life continues to throw you, what seem like, insurmountable challenges and we are very proud to play a part in her story.
She’s one of the bravest souls I’ve ever met, a total optimist, a lovely woman and a realist. She is preparing to start her next adventure and she knows there’s a bunch of people pulling all the stops out to ensure she makes this dream come true first.
If you’d like a copy of Grannifer’s Legacy, you can have a sneak peek and pre-order it here.