Coronation Street actress praises man for how he spent his inheritance


A man from Wirral who lost his disabled sister as a child has used his legacy to create a picture book that advocates for people with disabilities.

Rob Martin, from Bebington, said he was ‘still affected’ by the death of his teenage sister Pauline when he was just six, and is now being used money inherited from his late mother Kath to publish his book “Joe and Dusty Save The World”.

The book, which is written entirely in rhyme, tells the story of a handicapped young boy named Joe, and his trusty sidekick and support dog, Dusty. The story follows an extraterrestrial escapade and explores themes of kindness, fun, and love.

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Rob, 56, said: “Joe and Dusty is a book about a young boy who happens to be disabled. I deliberately do not name Joe’s disability as it is not a book about what he finds difficult or can’t do. The happy ending to the story is all about Joe’s strengths.

“Although this is a book about space and aliens, the underlying message is to celebrate people for their differences.

“It’s also about the power of human connection, which is a very important message for everyone after the isolation we’ve all experienced for the past two years.”

Author Rob Martin and his real dog, Dusty

Rob began writing a plot outline several years ago, but it was hearing a poem written by his sister at their mother’s funeral in December 2019 that inspired him to format the script into catchy verse. .

The freelance writer and marketing consultant, who now lives with her husband in Greater Manchester, was left shaken when he himself was diagnosed with autism belatedly, just weeks after the publication of his book.

He said: “Suddenly everything started to make sense. Even I could notice that I shared many traits in common with Joe, and when I asked my sister and my husband if they had ever suspected I was autistic, they both said yes.”

Rob said publishing his book was the best way to honor the memory of his mother and sister and to come to grips with his new understanding of himself as an autistic man.

He said: “Joe and Dusty shine a light on the positive contributions people with disabilities and neurodivergent people make to their families and society at large,

“I could have spent my inheritance on an extension or a luxury vacation, but publishing a book can have a much greater impact.”

The book has already caught the attention of some high-profile fans and features forewords by actress and activist Julie Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Gordy MBE, a television and theater actress with Down syndrome.

Julie, best known for her role as Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street, who recently started a fundraising group 500 acts of kindness said: “What a great idea it is to put a child with learning difficulties and their canine companion at the center of the action.”

Sarah said, “Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. We need different people to make the world a better place in different ways.”

Rob and his real-life dog, also called Dusty, have been invited to visit schools and events around the Northwest to talk about the book and why being different is strength.

Rob already has a number of other ideas for new adventures for Joe and Dusty and hopes the book will be the first in a successful series.

You can purchase a copy of Joe & Dusty here.

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