A PENSIONER with a talent for writing has published her first book to help others battling an incurable disease.

Velma Dixon, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five years ago, has released Velma's Verses, a book of around 40 poems which reflect life and its ups and downs.

The Ferryhill resident is working to raise money to help find a cure for Parkinson's disease and will donate sales from the book to Parkinson's UK.

Mrs Dixon said she wanted to leave her footprint behind for future generations and hopes the book will include something for everybody.

She said: "I am doing extremely well you've got to be positive, my glass is always half full and I want the money to go to research to find a cure as we want to target the route cause of Parkinson's.

"It is surprising the number of people who have Parkinson's but you've got to remember there's always someone worse off than you."

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological condition which causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time.

The number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's in the UK is about 145,000.

Following the release of the book Mrs Dixon found out that her great great grandfather, Richard Watson, was known as 'The Teesdale Poet' and said she was proud to carry on his legacy.

She said: "We've sold about 50 books already and I'm really pleased I'm following in the footsteps of my great great grandfather as who knows I could be known as 'The Poet of Ferryhill' in the future."

Velma's Verses includes works such as a poem about Mrs Dixon's first date with her husband Colin – who also lives with Parkinson's disease – and a poem about those living with dementia.

Ferryhill Councillor, Peter Atkinson, said: "I think Velma writing a book is amazing for the family and the people of Ferryhill. She will be remembered by the community for it."

Velma's Verses can be bought direct from Mrs Dixon by those who know her or from B L Oliver opticians and Gladstone's Hairdressers.

The book can be bought for a minimum donation of £5 and readers are encouraged to give generously.