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Diss bookshop signing sees former Framlingham man showcase a book about his drive to live well despite his dementia diagnosis





Friendship, a penny farthing bicycle and a man’s determination to live well with early onset dementia have provided the unlikely ingredients for a new book.

Slow Puncture, Living Well With Dementia chronicles the journey of Peter Berry since he was diagnosed with the syndrome seven years ago.

The book, which was the subject of a book signing in Diss recently, was authored by Deb Bunt, who has become close friends with the 57-year-old over the last four years and has joined him on many of his fundraising exploits, including a 300-mile cycle ride across four counties on his penny farthing to raise £12,000 for Young Dementia UK.

Author Deb Bunt with Peter Berry, who struggles with living a full a life despite having dementia and is the subject of the book. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
Author Deb Bunt with Peter Berry, who struggles with living a full a life despite having dementia and is the subject of the book. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

Mr Berry, who grew up in Framlingham but now lives in Friston, has also raised £6,000 for the same charity by cycling from Aberystwyth to Aldeburgh, by cycling 1,500 miles between November and January for Alzheimer’s Research UK and abseiling down London’s Orbital Tower to raise more than £1,000 for the same charity.

“When my husband and I moved to Suffolk from London, we didn’t know anyone,” said Mrs Bunt. “Peter was one of the first people I met and we started to go cycling in a group, and then just the two of us.

“This eased his wife’s worries about him getting ‘mislaid’ while she was at work.

“I started to learn more about dementia and some of my erroneous preconceptions were squashed.

“Peter took care of me while we cycled. He repaired punctures, navigated and got me home safely.

“He talked freely about his condition and, thus, a rather unique and unexpected friendship grew.”

The book, which has resulted from those discussions and shared experiences, was released two years ago by The Book Guild Publishing and can be bought for £9.99 from Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles.

The pair have attended many book signings since its release, including one at Diss Publishing Book Shop on Saturday.

It is the first of two books the friends have released, with their second, Walk With Me, offering a collection of poems by Mr Berry.

Speaking about his condition, Mr Berry said: “To my mind, research is the way forward.

“It will be too late for me but wouldn’t it be great if you could just take a pill, so you wouldn’t die of dementia but die with it.

“It’s really important to raise awareness of this condition and to show that you can live well with this condition. I wanted Deb to write my story to show that life isn’t over with dementia – it’s just different.”

Mrs Bunt added: “My friendship with Peter has hugely changed my life, not only in terms of the friendship enabling my writing ambition to be fulfilled, but also giving a fresh perspective on life.

“Through necessity, Peter lives in the moment due to his poor short-term memory. He lives and enjoys every day.

“I’m trying to master the skill of not stressing about little things, but enjoying the moment because they are quickly gone.”



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