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Book by former Culford resident Hazel Morgan celebrates life of her son Pete who had Down's syndrome



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The short, but ‘fulfilled’ life of a teenage boy with Down’s syndrome and profound learning disabilities is celebrated in a new book.

In Hazel Morgan’s memoir, The Joy of Knowing Pete: Much was said, yet no words spoken, she reflects on the teenage life of her younger son Pete, who died in 1995 aged 18.

Pete, who had lived in Culford where his father Andrew was deputy head of Culford School, attended Riverwalk School, in Bury St Edmunds, and then Belstead School in Ipswich.

Hazel Morgan has self-published a memoir about her younger son Pete, who had Down’s syndrome and profound and multiple learning disabilities. Picture: People First Dorset
Hazel Morgan has self-published a memoir about her younger son Pete, who had Down’s syndrome and profound and multiple learning disabilities. Picture: People First Dorset

Mrs Morgan’s new book follows many years on from Through Peter’s Eyes, which she wrote about Pete’s childhood, from his perspective.

Now she looks back on his teenage years until his death, describing his life in Suffolk and his positive influence on his friends and family. She also reflects on services and support for people with learning disabilities over the years arguing for greater opportunities, equality and fairness.

Mrs Morgan, 77, who previously taught history at West Suffolk College, said: “I wanted this book to show his positive influence as a young man who never used words on those around him and to show how much joy he created in our lives.”

Pete with his brother Phil
Pete with his brother Phil

She added: “Of course there were times when life was challenging and difficult, but I know that when I look back I can count the 18 years spent with Pete among the richest of my life as we shared the enjoyment of celebrations, outings, picnics, friendships, and, above all, music.”

Mrs Morgan, who now lives in Dorset, said Pete had a ‘short life, but fulfilled life’ and recounted his hobbies and passions; his ‘great joy’ was music and he also liked going out in the car into the Suffolk countryside, visiting cafés, swimming at the sports centre at Culford and he was a member of Ingham church.

She said Pete had a direct influence on her, prompting her to change career from teaching and later becoming a co-director of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, then part of the Mental Health Foundation. Now in retirement she is a trustee of the charity People First Dorset.

The Joy of Knowing Pete is being launched at an invitation-only event at Culford School on June 26. It can be bought from the YouCaxton website and Amazon.