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Lab worker pens charity book in memory of friend

17 December 2019

Johanna Aldridge holding a copy of her book

A biomedical scientist has swapped her lab coat and blood vials for a laptop and notepad to write a book in memory of a friend who died from an undetected heart condition.

Johanna Aldridge, who works at Jersey General Hospital, decided to write Tales from the Forest: Sea the Light, in aid of the British Heart Foundation after her friend Justin Brown died earlier this year from blood clots to the heart. Justin, a former Petty Officer, who served as a combat medic in the Royal Navy for 22 years, died aged 45 leaving behind a wife and son.

Johanna, who has previously published a children’s book called Tales from the Forest, had already begun writing the second story in her fantasy fiction book series when Justin, who lived in the UK, died. She decided to put that book on hold to write Sea the Light with its central character based on Justin. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.

The book, which features a family of seafaring ferrets – Justin’s favourite animal, has been available on in Kindle and paperback formats from 1 December.

Johanna, a 45-year-old specialist biomedical scientist who lives in St Helier with husband Scott, said: "Justin was an amazing chap and he was a brave and loyal friend to everyone that knew him. When he passed away it was absolutely devastating. After the funeral, my husband said: ‘Why don’t you introduce a character based on Justin into the series’.

"With the permission of his wife Tammy, I started writing. I think Justin would have been a little bit embarrassed that there’s this book based on him but also very touched. I remember him sending me a Facebook message when my first book came out – he was one of the very first people to order it, so I like that I’ve done this in his memory."

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