A FORMER teacher has written a book to help others in need.
Retired English teacher, Doreen Simm, has published her work which she began decades earlier in a bid to raise funds for Christian Aid.
The 76-year-old, who attends Roker United Reformed Church, said: “Like many people I’ve sat feeling helpless and horrified about the things I see happening around the world and would like to do something about it.
“I can’t do a huge amount for Christian Aid financially on my own, so this way I can appeal to other people too.”
The book, called A View From My Pew, contains 75 poems, 12 hymns, seven quizzes, and three mini-murder mysteries.
Doreen wrote some of the poems decades ago, but the majority of the work has been completed in the last few years.
Doreen, from Fulwell, said: “Writing is something that has been a big comfort.”
Her husband Eddie, died after suffering a stroke in 2003 and two years ago, one of Doreen’s sons took his own life.
Doreen said: “This book is about thanksgiving – that there are things in life to celebrate, whether it is the Christian faith or things like gardens and the times of season.”
Her poems cover a number of issues including the River Wear, Sea Road, and subjects such as strokes, and a poem in memory of her son Nigel.
The idea for Doreen’s first mini- murder mystery came to her on a train ride home from Derbyshire in August 2009.
Doreen said: “I was on the train and you can get a bit bored on those journeys. I was thinking about our church building and how many doors it has and how it could lend itself to a mystery and it gave me the idea.
“By the time I had travelled back to Sunderland the plot was there and it made it quite easy to write out.”
Doreen was encouraged to write the book after she showed some of her poems to friends at her church.
She said: “They told me that these hymns and poems shouldn’t just be for our church but should be shared with others as well.”
“I think that’s it for me as far as writing books goes, but it’s nice to know that this one will be enjoyed by others.”
As well as being available to buy on Amazon, the Mad Hatter Cafe on Sea Road has a limited number of copies for sale.