'He's here to see his book published' - Nobby achieves ambition despite MND

Author Nobby Clarke, who lives near Woodbridge and has motor neurone disease

Author Nobby Clarke, who lives near Woodbridge and has motor neurone disease, has published a new book, The De-Callen Chronicles - Credit: Susan Clarke

Suffolk author Colin "Nobby" Clarke has achieved an ambition by publishing a fantasy novel, despite suffering from motor neurone disease (MND).

The 57-year-old writes under the name CR Clarke, and his book, The De-Callen Chronicles, is being published this week in paperback by Pegasus.

Wife Susan, also 57, said the first copies had just been delivered to their home near Woodbridge.

"It's quite exciting," she said. "When the postman came with the books, Nobby was really pleased.

Nobby and Susan Clarke of Woodbridge with Nobby's fantasy novel, The De-Callan Chronicles

Nobby and Susan Clarke, who live near Woodbridge, with Nobby's fantasy novel, The De-Callan Chronicles - Credit: Terence Wilcox

"He has always been into fantasy books and has read a lot of them." She said Mr Clarke was inspired by his late dad, who was also a keen writer.


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Mr Clarke was diagnosed with MND in April 2019, after it was at first thought he had suffered a stroke the previous November.

He now uses an electric wheelchair and is currently communicating via an iPad Grid, but, as the incurable disease worsens, this is getting difficult for him. His wife said he may soon start to use an eye-gaze device, controlled with his eyes.    

"His health has deteriorated quite a lot but his book has come out and he's still here. He wanted that so much," Mrs Clarke said.

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She said: "We are both very positive - I think you have to be," adding that they were able to enjoy a holiday in Scotland during an easing of restrictions last year.

Their two sons, Karl, 32 and Tom, 31, share their dad's love of fantasy, and he has included them as main characters in the book.

The starting point of The De-Callen Chronicles is that two worlds exist at the same time. Karl and Tom suddenly discover that although they live on Earth, they were sent there many years ago - and they need to get back to their own world.

Nobby Clarke, who lives near Woodbridge, with his book The De-Callen Chronicles

Nobby Clarke, who lives near Woodbridge and has motor neurone disease, with his book The De-Callen Chronicles - Credit: Susan Clarke

"The boys have always liked fantasy, like Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett. I've never really got on with it, but now that my husband has written this book, I'm going to read it," Mrs Clarke said.

The book is quite a family affair, since their daughter-in-law Erline, a film editor, designed the cover image.

Mr Clarke started writing the book more than 10 years ago, and, when he had to retire due to MND and was at home more, he spent more time on it and completed it.

He has written about 12 chapters of a sequel but is now unable to carry on. However, Mrs Clarke said one of their sons would complete the book.

The cover of The De-Callen Chronicles by CR Clarke, known as "Nobby", who lives near Woodbridge

The cover of The De-Callen Chronicles by CR Clarke, known as "Nobby", who lives near Woodbridge - Credit: Terence Wilcox

Mr Clarke has been known as "Nobby" ever since he was a young soldier in the Army Air Corps. He served for many years and attained the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2).

His wife was also in the army for four years, and the couple first met at the airfield at Middle Wallop in Hampshire.

They lived in various different places while Mr Clarke was serving, with his last posting being at Wattisham. After he left the forces, they decided to settle in Suffolk.

Since retiring from the Army,  Mr Clarke has worked in several other roles,  including as a police community support officer and store supervisor for the Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies.

He then became a care assistant with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust for four years, until he had to retire because of his illness.

Mr Clarke has been shielding because of Covid-19, and Mrs Clarke has been able to work at home in her role as an assistant mental health practitioner with the NHS. 

The De-Callen Chronicles by CR Clarke, published by Pegasus/Vanguard Press at £13.99, is officially published on Thursday, April 29. It is available to order from the publisher's site and from bookshops.


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