Nurse’s tale hits head­lines

Heart­break­ing true story first told here is a global sen­sa­tion

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A RE­MARK­ABLE book cowrit­ten by Uxbridge Gazette colum­nist Bar­bara Fisher is caus­ing a media sen­sa­tion.

Tip­per­ary Mary tells the life story of Bar­bara’s friend, Birm­ing­ham dis­trict nurse Phyl­lis Whit­sell, who tracked down the al­co­holic mother who gave her up for adop­tion.

She spent the next nine years un­til her mother’s death, nurs­ing her with­out re­veal­ing her true iden­tity.

Af­ter the story fea­tured in the Gazette in July we passed it on to our sis­ter pa­per, The Sun­day Mer­cury in Birm­ing­ham – who ran it on their front page un­der the strapline “the most re­mark­able love story you will ever read” – and it was picked up by the Daily Mir­ror’s web­site and other na­tional media.

Within hours the story was picked up by na­tional news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and TV com­pa­nies all around the world. It made head­lines in Aus­tralia, the USA, In­dia, Italy, Spain, Croa­tia and the Far East.

Matthew Wright dis­cussed the story on his Chan­nel 5 pro­gramme The Wright Stuff. He said Phyl­lis’s story was “an ex­tra­or­di­nary act of love” and “bit­ter sweet”, adding that it’s “got movie writ­ten all over it”.

ITV show This Morn­ing has booked Phyl­lis to join pre­sen­ters Phillip Schofield and Hollie Wil­loughby on the sofa next Tues­day and women’s mag­a­zines have been lin­ing up to get the rights.

And last week it emerged that Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tor Ri­d­ley Scott’s pro­duc­tion com­pany, Scott Free Films, has been in touch with Phyl­lis, 59, to en­quire about the film and TV rights to her story. Phyl­lis said: “I am thrilled with the in­ter­est shown in my story. It’s amaz­ing what has hap­pened since I met Bar­bara 11 years ago when I nursed her mother, and we talked about me writ­ing a book about Tip­per­ary Mary.

“We could never have guessed it would take off like this.”

Bar­bara said: “Phyl­lis de­serves this – she is a very spe­cial per­son and I al­ways knew her story was ex­tra­or­di­nary. The funny thing is that two pub­lish­ers turned it down be­fore we gave up and went for self pub­lish­ing. She should cer­tainly get her money back... and it all started here – at the Gazette.”

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