Family’s pride at seeing book written by Kettering’s Johnny Mackay weeks before his death published

Johnny's mum Denise Mackay and sister Charlotte (centre) will be launching his book on September 20

Johnny's mum Denise Mackay and sister Charlotte (centre) will be launching his book on September 20

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A mum has spoken of her pride at seeing a book written by her son in the weeks before he took his own life published for others to share and enjoy.

Johnny Mackay wrote a children’s book called Norman the Caterpillar shortly before taking his own life on October 23, 2014, at the age of 29.

Johnny Mackay

Johnny Mackay

After reading the book about love and self belief, his family wanted to get it published so others could enjoy it too.

They will be launching the book at Johnny’s Happy Place at Keystone in Rockingham Road, Kettering, later this month - the home of the charity they set up in his memory.

Johnny’s mum Denise said: “Johnny wrote this book, it’s a beautiful story called Norman the Caterpillar.

“He wrote this several weeks prior to his death and because we knew it was such a lovely story, we knew we needed to get it published one day.

He wrote this several weeks prior to his death and because we knew it was such a lovely story, we knew we needed to get it published one day

Denise Mackay

“I phoned the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire Dr Mukhtar and he has agreed to come and launch it for us.

“We just want to make it a lovely occasion.

“Johnny would have been 30 on September 18.

“He was a local boy, many people knew him and so many people loved him.

“A lot of this book is him.

“It’s his life story, going the wrong way in life which is what Norman did.

“It’s a children’s book, but adults will love it.

“I was reading it all through the times he was writing it so I loved it already, it’s perfect.

“It’s quite beautiful.”

Johnny’s sister Charlotte has self-published the book and copies will be available at the book launch at 11am on Sunday, September 20, at Keystone.

There will be face painting, party food, games and giveaways for children, as well as a reading of some of the book.

Denise said: “When we read it, we knew it had to be published and Charlotte has self-published it.

“She did all the layout and and a wonderful artist called Steff Lee, who did our logo for our t-shirts, did the illustrations for the book.

“I am very proud.

“In an ideal world, Johnny would be there and I would love to say to Johnny ‘you are a genius, it’s beautiful’ but it isn’t going to happen and obviously there won’t be a sequel.”

Denise said she misses her son every day but added: “I can’t be sitting around mourning and feeling low every single day of my life, we are doing this to help people like Johnny.

“I am immensely proud to be his mother and that he has written something so wonderful, and I just want parents and children to love the story and read a little behind the words.”

All of the profits from Norman the Caterpillar will go back into Johnny’s Happy Place.

For more information about Johnny’s Happy Place, its newly opened cafe and how you can get involved, go to www.johnnyshappyplace.com.