Much was said, yet no words spoken
‘Poor Pete he can never have an adventure on his own.’ His brother’s words describe Peter’s dependence on others for his care and safety. He had Down’s syndrome and profound and multiple learning disabilities.
He never used words but still made a profound impact on the lives of his family, friends and those he met. His individuality, love of music, his friendships and his determination all shine through The Joy of Knowing Pete. This memoir focuses on Peter’s teenage years, his home, his surroundings, his schools, his church membership, his outings, his holidays and his three months in hospital following severe strokes and his final months in a Sue Ryder home.
In her first book, Through Peter's Eyes, Hazel Morgan captured the life of her younger son, who had Down's syndrome, up to the age of eleven, first in Durham and then in Suffolk. Now in her second memoir, The Joy of Knowing Pete: Much Was Said, Yet No Words Spoken she focuses on what Peter taught her in his teenage years and how he touched the lives of so many people. She also reflects on services and supports for people with learning disabilities over the years arguing for greater opportunities, equality and fairness.
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Peter's death shortly before his nineteenth birthday prompted her to change career: she had studied Modern History at St Hugh's College Oxford and taught for many years in secondary, further and higher education. She subsequently became a Co-Director of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, then part of the Mental Health Foundation, overseeing research and projects. Now in retirement she is a trustee of People First Dorset. |
Hazel lives in Dorset with her husband and enjoys being close to her son, Philip, and his family, reading novels, researching family history and exploring the local area.
Virginia Astley Writer
Through a series of snapshot recollections and the words of those who knew him, Hazel Morgan provides the reader with a memorable and poignant account of her son’s life…… The joy that Pete expresses in his own particular way radiates throughout the book and leaves the reader with the sense that this young man’s life touched a great many others.
Christine-Koulla Burke, Director the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
This book is beautifully written with fairness and equality at the heart, reminding us that all life is precious.
Sally Bayley, Writer
Hazel’s book is a moving account of how one family learned to live - often joyfully - alongside a young son with a disability. There is not a shred of self pity here, only a reminder of the brevity of all our lives and our universal desire to make meaning.
John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, The University of Aberdeen
This is a lovely book.
It’s a testimony to Peter, but it is much more than that ... Hazel gently and kindly brings Peter’s voice to the fore.
Chris Hatton, Professor of Social Care, Manchester Metropolitan University
This is a beautiful and moving memoir - of joy, grief, pain, faith, belonging, love, and a life well lived.
Christine Towers, Director, Together Matters
This is Peter’s story written many years later.
It also subtly hints at the need for the rest of society to be more inclusive and for a greater national policy commitment to people with learning disabilities.