Nurse’s tale hits headlines
Heartbreaking true story first told here is a global sensation
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.”