A devoted husband is trying to keep the memory of his ailing wife active by writing a series of poems about their 48-year romance.

In a real-life version of Hollywood movie The Notebook, loving Len Biddlecombe started penning his verses as his way of chronicling his life with wife Barbara long before she diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

He started when they first met in 1966 but stopped in 2010 when she was taken into full-time care because he feared she would not recognise any new poems.

Loves to reminisce

But he faithfully still reads her old favourites on his daily visits to the nursing home where the 71-year-old needs constant care.

The 76-year-old former taxi driver said Barbara still responds when he reads his words aloud.

"The poems are the complete kaleidoscope of our life, from when we first got together to today,” he says.

"I would read them to her after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and it would make her happy and remind her of the past.

"I still read them to her even now, but I stopped writing them because they are for her and only her, and I think she would struggle to understand the new ones.

"When I show her them she chuckles or smiles, I don't know if she understands what she's looking at but I hope there's a chance she remembers.

"One or two of the poems mention her Alzheimer's, but I did not want to write about the bad time in our lives, so the poems are simply about my love for her.

Len and his wife Barbara

"I wrote the earlier ones about her and as we had our family they came into it, then as time went on they were more for her than about her."

Poetry vow

Len and Barbara married in 1968 and have three children - David, 43, Peter 40 and Denise, 31 - and three grandchildren.

Len vowed to write a poem about their romance for every year he has known and loved his wife.

Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 at the age of 65 and two years later was admitted to the Anglesea Heights nursing home near their house in Shotley, Suffolk.

The terminal illness has left her unable to speak or walk and Len now spends every day by her side.

"With Barbara I knew straight away she was the one for me, I know it sounds cheesy but it's true,” he says.

"The best poem in the book is the one I wrote when our first child was born, one of life's most precious moments.

"It describes the thrill of holding your baby for the first time, something that many people can relate to.

"I stopped writing the poems after she went in the home in 2010.

"She couldn't understand them anymore, and they were all for her and no one else, so I stopped feeling the need to write them.

"But I did insist on writing a final poem to finish the book off, but we had to draw a line on that part of our life.

"If I show them to her now she doesn't quite comprehend, but she does tend to smile, she liked the little picture of us on the back cover but she doesn't understand the wording.

"Everything I've ever written I would read to her before I did anything with it."

A book of the poems - which Len has called Life of Love - has now gone on sale on Amazon priced at £4.73.

Image credit: SWNS