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Man diagnosed with dementia at 50 writes book he ‘will never be able to read’

PUBLISHED: 19:08 25 September 2020

Peter Berry was disgnosed with dementia at 50 and has published a book about his experience. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Peter Berry was disgnosed with dementia at 50 and has published a book about his experience. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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His book is an emotional account of what it is like to live with dementia - yet the nature of Peter Berry’s condition means he is unable to read and remember his own powerful words.

Peter Berry with his new book, Slow Puncture, which is an emotional account of what it is like to live with dementia. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPeter Berry with his new book, Slow Puncture, which is an emotional account of what it is like to live with dementia. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The 55-year-old, from Friston, is about to publish a book which details his life and experiences with dementia after being diagnosed with the condition at just 50 years old.

After struggling with coming to terms with his impairment, Mr Berry decided to try and live well with his condition - beginning mammoth cycle rides and fundraising for charity.

The book, called Slow Puncture, was written with his good friend and cycling partner Deb Bunt.

At first, Mr Berry was able to write things down but slowly his condition took away his ability to write.

Peter Berry with his new book, Slow Puncture, which is an emotional account of what it is like to live with dementia. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPeter Berry with his new book, Slow Puncture, which is an emotional account of what it is like to live with dementia. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

So, over time, Ms Bunt started to take recordings of things Mr Berry would say.

Together, they were able to put the book together.

Yet despite the book now being complete, Mr Berry knows he will never be able to read and remember even his own words.

“It’s a book I will never be able to read,” said Mr Berry.

Peter Berry and his penny farthing  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPeter Berry and his penny farthing Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It’s strange having it at home. I don’t really know what is in it.”

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Speaking about why he decided to write the book, Mr Berry said: “It was also just really so that my friends and family had something to look back on.”

The early chapters focus on how Mr Berry came to terms with his condition, after suffering with depression following his diagnosis.

In the second half of the book, the reader follows a year in Mr Berry’s life and how his condition affects him.

Mr Berry said he was “very proud” of what he and his co-author had put together, adding: “In a way, it gives me a sense of purpose.”

Mr Berry was also keen to shed a new light on his condition.

“It’s not just people in care homes,” said Mr Berry

“There’s a different side to this condition.”

Ms Bunt said writing a book has “always been an ambition of mine in life”.

Mr Berry and Ms Bunt have many more cycling adventures planned in the next year, including their own version of the Dunwich Dynamo.

Slow Puncture is available on Kindle now and in bookshops from Monday.

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