Regional press journalist Dale Le Vack is celebrating the publication of his first book.
The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald news editor has spent the past two-and-a-half years putting together God’s Golden Acre, a biography of humanitarian Heather Reynolds, who cares for orphans of the AIDS Pandemic in South Africa.
Her sanctuary, in the Valley of a Thousand Hills – where 36 per cent of the local people are infected with AIDS – is where nearly 100 children find sanctuary from abuse, poverty, and starvation.
Dale, (58), chanced upon Heather’s story when she visited his newspaper’s patch while on tour with a choir of young Zulu warriors, and after hearing about her life he suggested she write her autobiography to help raise money to fund her work.
Dale said: “She laughed – she said she didn’t have time to write a letter, never mind her autobiography.
“After I wrote my article for the paper she rang me back and said ‘why don’t you write it?’
“It’s an incredible story. She is the embodiment of the good Samaritan in the 21st century.”
After agreeing to the project Dale, who is a former BBC and ITV producer, interviewed Heather as she travelled to the UK several times, and he also paid a trip to South Africa to see her work first hand.
While writing the book he continued to work for the Herald and its sister paper The Midweek, which sometimes meant 5am starts and late finishes.
He said: “I had to institute quite a self-disciplined regime, but when I joined the Herald I knew I wanted to write a book and the opportunity did present itself.”