A novel set in Eastbourne and written by a former Hailsham schoolteacher is raising awareness and funds for a pancreatic cancer charity.
Mr Robbins, the first book written by Neil Jeffery, tells the story of an accountant in his forties who, while facing the onslaught of diagnosis with a life-limiting illness, is befriended by a plain-speaking Irish artist.
The novel follows the growth of their friendship and its twists and turns in the face of a bleak prognosis.
As well as depicting the effect such a diagnosis can have on a person and raising awareness, Neil has also decided to donate 33 per cent of the royalties from sales of the novel to Pancreatic Cancer Action.
Neil, who lived in Eastbourne in the 1990s and started his teaching career at Hailsham Community College, said, “I wrote the story of Mr Robbins very quickly, in about four weeks.
“Having lost my own father at the age of 55 to pancreatic cancer in 1989, I am aghast that prognoses for survival for five or more years have been stagnant at three per cent for over 40 years due to it receiving just one per cent of cancer funding.
“Writing about it seemed to be the only thing I could do to raise awareness and do my bit.
“Having been raised in the South East and having loved Eastbourne and the South Downs all my life, it seemed only natural for the novel to be set in an area that I still very much regard as home.”
The story has also been optioned for production as a feature film, which is hoped to be shot in 2014-2015.
The novel can be purchased for £8.50 from http://mr-robbins.weebly.com, with 33 per cent of the royalties going straight to the Pancreatic Cancer Action.
For details on the charity, visit the website at www.pan creaticcanceraction.org.