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Plucky writer overcomes the odds

PUBLISHED: 15:40 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:31 23 August 2010

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OVERCOMING a debilitating illness that kept her out of school, a performing arts student is about to have her first book published. Christine Hands, of Nursery Lane, Meopham, struggles with ME, which forced her to receive home tutoring during her teens a

OVERCOMING a debilitating illness that kept her out of school, a performing arts student is about to have her first book published.

Christine Hands, of Nursery Lane, Meopham, struggles with ME, which forced her to receive home tutoring during her teens and resulted in her collecting only three GCSEs and dropping out of college.

Now, aged 26 and after three years working with performance-based charity Walk Tall developing her confidence, Miss Hands is to have her first book, The Hobble, published.

She said: "I have written since I was a kid. I never believed it was good enough that someone else would want to read it - even I didn't want to read it sometimes.

"I never would have dreamed of sending my work to a publisher without the help and support of Ann Duke (chief executive of Walk Tall)."

Christine, who also suffers from epilepsy, described how after school she drifted from job to job but couldn't find something that she enjoyed.

She added: "I was always doing something for someone else, not working for myself."

After years of struggling alone she was put in touch with Walk Tall through fellow charity The Prince's Trust and has since collected qualifications in drama and education through the performing arts, as well as writing poetry, scripts and her book

Proud Mrs Duke said: "When she came to us she was very low in confidence and a lot of things in her past I think had resulted in that.

"We quickly discovered in her an incredible writing talent. Considering the amount of time she spent out of school it is amazing her skills. There is a little JK Rowling in there I think."

The book, which Christine expects to be published in the summer, is based on the adventures of a 10-year-old girl Lily.

"When I got the letter from the publishers I went through the roof, screaming and shouting. I never expected them to accept it," said Christine.

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