Funnyman Harry Hill has given his endorsement to a touching novel by a Dungannon-born author about a teenage boy - and wannabe comedian - dealing with the impact of cancer on his family.
Hill - best known for programmes such as You’ve Been Framed and Harry Hill’s TV Burp - plays a pivotal role in Christine Hamill’s second book, The Best Medicine.
It tells the story of 12-year-old Philip Wright, a wannabe comedian, whose life is impacted by his mother’s breast cancer.
To try and handle the pressure, Philip sends off a series of plaintive letters to his favourite comedian, Harry Hill, asking him for advice on crazy mothers, fickle girls, dangerous bullies and fair weather friends.
Hill, whose image appears on the front cover, sent the author a warm handwritten letter of approval and appreciation, stating that he thought The Best Medicine “wonderful”.
The book is a work of fiction, but there was a deep autobiographical well from which the author could draw.
Hamill, a single mother, was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago when she was in her mid-40s and her son Callan was aged 10.
As well as the shock of the news, she suffered deep anxieties around her concern for her son, how she could tell him she was ill, and the uncertainties over what the future would hold.
Now an English teacher at Belfast Metropolitan College, Hamill used her experience to write after receiving the ‘all-clear’ a number of years ago.