Flora goes by the book in funds bid

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FLORA Johnston’s father was an avid reader, a trait she happily inherited. In honour of her dad who passed away at 89 last year, Flora has organised a book sale and coffee morning to raise funds for Alzheimer Research UK.

Peter Morrison was 84 when he was diagnosed with dementia. It was hard for Flora and her family to watch the former procurator fiscal decline, especially when he was no longer able to read.

She said: “I grew up surrounded by books. Dad loved books and reading and it was hard because he was so intellectual and articulate and it took away his ability to read. It seemed most appropriate to raise money for Alzheimer Research UK with a book sale.”

Flora feels very fortunate that despite his loss of concentration, her dad’s nature didn’t change due to the dementia. He spent his last 18 months in Murrayfield House care home where he received “wonderful care”.

Flora imagined she would have enough books for a couple of tables but has been overwhelmed with donations and now has more than 2200 to sell. As a researcher and writer Flora, 45, shares her father’s love of literature, especially his passion for Scottish history and writers. Robert Burns was a particular favourite of Peter’s and she knows that he would love browsing the books she has amassed.

She told friends at Davidson’s Mains Parish Church what she was planning and soon had thousands of titles on her hands.

“People are always happy to pass on books, especially for charity,” Flora said. “I’ve been so touched by the response.”

The mountain of books is being stored in her home which is “making it hard to get around” but she has lots of help on the day for transporting and sorting for the sale.

Initially hoping to raise £500, Flora’s imagined target has been trumped and now she is looking forward to making as much as she can. Any books left over will be donated to various charities.

Flora has even managed to bag three unread signed copies of Alexander McCall Smith novels, donated by the author himself. Her book-lover dad used to volunteer at the annual Christian Aid Week book sale so Flora feels a connection to him through her fundraising efforts.

She said: “He would love all of these books. We would go on holiday and he would disappear into second hand bookshops for a rummage for hours. There are some incredible finds in the collection and a mix of great stuff.”

Browse the books on Saturday 21 April at Davidson’s Mains Parish Church from 10am - 5pm.