A daughter who took up writing to deal with the death of her father has penned a children's book to explore the themes of loss, grief and friendship.

Ash Hunter grew up in Swindon, but now lives in Worthing and has written her first book, 'A Different Day', a compassionate tale of friendship between a puppy called Lilo, a character based loosely on Ash’s golden retriever who bears the same name, and her best friend Mo.

“It’s been a labour of love and I’m really excited to see it come together,” said Ash, who will be donating £1 from the sale of each book to Brain Tumour Research.

Ash’s support of the charity comes following the death of her father, Kenny Hunter, in April 2020, aged 51.

The scaffolder was originally from Newcastle but moved to Swindon at the age of 15 and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a week before his 40th birthday in January 2009.

Swindon Advertiser: Ash's dad Kenny HunterAsh's dad Kenny Hunter

The “very considerate and witty” father-of-two had his thyroid and lymph nodes removed, and part of a lung four years later, but went on to develop nine secondary brain tumours.

Ash said: “Dad was someone who always put others first. He was a witty, happy-go-lucky man and the most considerate person I’ve ever met.

“He started getting really forgetful and angry, and just wasn’t himself. I probably noticed it more because I was away at university and not living with him, but I said to my mum ‘I think his cancer’s in his brain’.

Eventually he was given a scan and brain tumours were discovered, but it was too late.

“They gave him a year to live but Dad lasted 26 months," said Ash. "To be honest, by that point, I think he was tired of all the treatment.”

The 27-year-old is hoping to raise at least £2,740 for the charity, which is enough to sponsor a day of research at one of its four centres of excellence.

She added: “The reason I feel so strongly about supporting Brain Tumour Research is because Dad’s brain tumours were the point at which we were told there was nothing that could be done.

“We always knew his cancer was terminal but we deemed him as living with cancer. The brain tumours are when things changed and we said ‘oh, he’s dying of it now’.”

Ash’s writing started after a counselling session as a way to deal with her grief over losing her dad.

She said the book came about “almost by accident” and features rhymes as a tribute to Kenny who used to write “silly” poems to her mum.

She said: “If I can help just one person deal with the ideas that no one lives forever and loss gets easier over time, then I will feel like I’ve achieved something.

“As the last page in my book says: ‘Lilo had learnt this lesson, which she could not forget: It’s good to show your feelings, even when you are upset. Sometimes sad things happen, and there is nothing to be done. But a friend can always show that after dark nights comes the sun.'”

Swindon Advertiser: Ash Hunter and her dog LiloAsh Hunter and her dog Lilo

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three of us knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, it’s clear there needs to be more investment in research.

"Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.

“We’re determined to change this but it’s only by working together we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK.

It also campaigns for the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

A Different Day is available on at www.ashhunter.co.uk