Authors character name auction to aid disabled boy

TWO Scottish authors are auctioning off the chance to be immortalised as characters in their forthcoming novels in order to help a disabled boy “trapped” on the ninth floor of a block of flats in Aberdeen.

Christopher Brookmyre is helping appeal. Picture: Michael Gillen
Christopher Brookmyre is helping appeal. Picture: Michael Gillen
Christopher Brookmyre is helping appeal. Picture: Michael Gillen

Fans of Christopher Brookmyre will be able to bid today for the chance to lend their name to a character in the author’s latest novel featuring the investigative journalist Jack Parlabane.

Stuart MacBride, the author of the popular series of novels featuring detective Logan McRae, has already raised £1,000 in February when he auctioned off a role in his forthcoming novel.

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Both authors are supporting a crowdfunding campaign set up by Julie Barkel to raise £100,000 to buy a home for her friend Ailsa Dick and her family who for more than three years have been living in a cramped two-bedroom flat on the ninth floor of a block of flats.

The couple’s son, Baxter, who has spina bifida, the spinal condition scoliosis and hydrocephalus, as well as other ailments, requires round-the-clock care and still sleeps in a cot in his parents’ bedroom as there is no room in their council flat for a specialist bed.

Mrs Dick, her husband James, their five-year old son, Brodie, Baxter, three, and newborn daughter Caledonia currently live in the flat.

The family have been waiting to be rehoused since Baxter was born and his condition became apparent. They desperately need more space for his medical equipment and better accessibility for his wheelchair. The tower block’s lifts have broken six times in recent months.

Brookmyre said: “When you learn about the Dick family’s efforts and all that Baxter has had to contend with, it is a privilege to be able to help in some meaningful way.

“People have responded very generously in the past when I have auctioned character names, and I am hoping that the allure of a place in the Parlabane canon will make someone dig deep to meet the price of posterity.”

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Mrs Dick said: “The flat isn’t adapted. He needs so much equipment to help him sit, stand and bathe as he cannot do it himself. He sleeps with us in our bedroom and he’s still in a cot as there isn’t room for a specialist bed.”

The Help Baxter Fund was set up by Ms Barkel and aims to raise money to buy them a home of their own.

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Ms Barkel said: “The lifts can take two to three days to fix so this leaves Baxter’s mum either stuck at the top or the bottom of the building with no way of getting Baxter out, or home.”

She said: “I contacted some of my favourite authors and Chris came back happy to help us and also donated a character.

“I have the auction all set up ready to go live today at noon and the winning bidder will become a character in Chris’s next Jack Parlabane novel – due for release January 2016.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the family’s housing needs and continue to work with them to try to resolve their accommodation issues.”

The auction will go live today at 12 noon at