Shielding Diss pensioner pens his own memoir during lockdown
An 82-year-old man, shielded away from day-to-day life by the pandemic, has turned his efforts to writing a memoir, which has been released this week.
Neville Pearson has released The Life and Times of a Norfolk Boy: From Cradle to the Grave, covering his life as a working class boy from Diss to becoming a successful property dealer.
Mr Pearson began writing the book in February after entering a self-imposed lockdown as cases of coronavirus began to surge across the globe.
“I went into lockdown in February, a month before everyone else, because things were starting to look a bit bad,” said Mr Pearson, who suffers from a number of health conditions.
“When I was in lockdown, I was looking for something to do and my mind started harking back to the old days, and times gone by.
“So I wrote everything down, from the start of my life.”
Over the next eight months, Mr Pearson would write all nine chapters of his memoir from his home in Victoria Road.
To get the book published, he enlisted the help of Diss-based publishers CopyDiss, based in Mere Street.
“We enjoyed every minute of it,” said Elaine Verhaag (pictured), of CopyDiss, who was tasked with transcribing the pensioner’s handwritten notes and making any necessary edits.
“Mr Pearson is now elderly but has been a very active man all his life and decided during lockdown that he wanted to do this one last thing to reflect on his life and leave something for posterity.
“He has taken a curious approach to this book and it is an mixture of his memories, his actions and his thoughts as he now considers the end of his life.
“He’s put a lot of effort into it, and it’s not to make money; it’s because he really wants to tell his story – it’s a very personal thing for him.
“It’s his final opportunity for him to express himself, and who he is.”
The book details Mr Pearson’s working class upbringing in Diss during the 1930s and ‘40s, trading fruit and livestock from his parents’ garden in Mount Street as a teenager before going on to build his own business, Castle Fruiterers Ltd.
“One thing that is clear is that throughout his life, he has had a very strong work ethic,” added Mrs Verhaag.
“Even now, in his 80s, he’s still doing things.”
Mr Pearson added: “It’s a tale of my journey through life.
“I wanted to put everything down, and leave something behind.”
From an initial print run, 100 copies of The Life and Times of a Norfolk Boy: From Cradle to the Grave have been produced in hardback edition and can be purchased from CopyDiss now.