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Terminally-ill Shrewsbury man Noel Conway pens two books

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Terminally-ill Shrewsbury man Noel Conway has long been committed to fighting the laws on assisted dying but he has still found the time to pen two books.

The motor neurone disease (MND) sufferer has released Tales from the Hill, which will be followed shortly by his autobiography.

Mr Conway has dedicated the last two years campaigning for a change in the law on assisted dying – even taking his fight to the Supreme Court.

The 68-year-old wants assistance from a medical professional to end his own life when he has less than six months left to live and still has mental capacity.

However in November, the court rejected his last appeal and the case will go no further.

But Mr Conway has turned his attention to writing and has released a book inspired by The Wrekin.

He said: “I’ve always written poetry since a child and two years ago published a selection of this entitled A Life in Words. However, apart from the odd article and the ‘stop start’ engagement with a book in 2009, which I haven’t completed, I didn’t begin to seriously write prose until two years ago. The motivation for this was primarily to tell my story.”

Folklore

Tales from the Hill is a series of short fictional stories based on the history or folklore of The Wrekin.

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Mr Conway was asked to contribute to the the local magazine, Under the Wrekin, and submitted a ghost story called Cob’s Den.

It was so well received he decided to pen a book.

“There are nine stories which take as their starting point some aspect of history or folklore,” he said.

“Since I arrived in Shropshire over 30 years ago the Wrekin has played a very important part in my life because I am a keen walker and climber. Since I retired from full-time employment in 2010, taking a part-time lecturing role at college, I tried to walk up the Wrekin from my house at least once a week.”

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Mr Conway said his wife Carol’s favourite story in the book is entitled Fern Ticket – a “tragically romantic” story inspired by a tale his mother-in-law told him.

He said: “The old folk in the area used to refer to courting up the Wrekin by asking someone, usually with a twinkle in their eyes, whether they had got their Fern Ticket yet?

“It is a tragically romantic story where one of the young lovers goes off to the First World War. Whenever I read it aloud, it always makes me weep probably because it touches very closely on the impending separation of me and my wife, whom I love.”

He is now getting ready to release Hard Days’ Journey into Night: memoirs of an MND warrior and human rights campaigner.

The autobiography begins with his story of MND and follows his legal battle.

He added: “It incorporates a review of the legal and ethical arguments surrounding assisted dying which I have been involved with for the past two years."

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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