Grandmother publishes first poetry collection after winning health battle

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A grandmother who had to learn to walk, talk and write again after a major operation has published her first collection at the age of 83. Patricia Hill, from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a benign brain tumour, in her fifties, which led to a lengthy recovery. She began writing poetry two years ago.

Her collection, Flight Feathers, features a number of poems about birds, including pheasants, swans and partridges, as well as trips to the Shard and to a Leonard Cohen concert at the 02 Arena. There are also poems about the war, and a family picnic: “Is your journey really necessary? / We thought it was.”

Patricia says in the foreword to her collection: “With a lot of help from other people, particularly my family, and much determination on my part, I have regained a lot of skills … You feel bereaved for your body which can’t do what it did before. But I have persevered.”

Born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Patricia has six children and 14 grandchildren. Her youngest daughter is poet Alison Hill, organiser of the long-running live poetry event, Rhythm & Muse, pictured here with her. Alison said she was proud of her mum’s achievements and glad to have helped the poems “fly from a notebook in a drawer to the printed page”.

All proceeds from her poetry pamphlet go towards the British Acoustic Neuroma Association. Copies can be purchased via or see

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 1st Jan 2015 15:57

I believe that poetry is an important tool
in the armoury against the onset of mental
deterioration. The search for and the
selection of words to define feelings and set them in print is an essential exercise to keep the brain firing into
an alert old age.
This lady's story of a fight-back
against a medical condition is hugely
encouraging & the thought that poetry
has helped in her situation is sure to
help others.

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