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Music saved former teacher who became suicidal after chronic illness diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 05:30 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:16 03 April 2019

Keith Sadler, from Ipswich, says that music has saved his life after being diagnosed with multiple illnesses and losing his job as a teacher. Picture: PETER HEPWORTH

Keith Sadler, from Ipswich, says that music has saved his life after being diagnosed with multiple illnesses and losing his job as a teacher. Picture: PETER HEPWORTH

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A former Suffolk teacher is crediting music for "saving his life" after he became suicidal when diagnosed with a long-term illness that stripped him of his identity, his hobbies and even his career.

Keith Sadler now busks around Suffolk after suffering from an autoimmune disease. Picture: FELIX ROTHERMELKeith Sadler now busks around Suffolk after suffering from an autoimmune disease. Picture: FELIX ROTHERMEL

Keith Sadler was left devastated and depressed after he was diagnosed with a life-changing illness that left him unable to teach.

In 2009, Mr Sadler, who at the time was teaching religious education at East Bergholt High School, was suddenly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which comes under the medical umbrella of ME.

He said: “I thought I just had a chest infection so when I heard the news that it was serious I was devastated.

“Teaching was my life and it was a big part of my identity - I remember bursting into tears when my employment was terminated.”

Before the diagnosis, Mr Sadler had never had a day off work and spent eight years as a secondary school teacher in Hull.

“Teaching was a big part of my identity,” he continued. “I loved every minute of it.”

Mr Sadler, who was born in Ipswich and now lives in Needham Market with his wife, says he didn’t know who he was after being diagnosed with the disease that leaves him constantly exhausted and in pain.

Following three awful years of being virtually housebound, suffering from depression and even becoming suicidal - Mr Sadler was convinced by his wife to go to an open mic night in Ipswich.

After being welcomed by the county’s music crowd Mr Sadler then began to make his own sounds and even started busking regularly on the streets of Suffolk.

He said: “Music has turned my life around and I wouldn’t be here without it.

“It’s given me something to focus my time on and has given my life meaning again.”

Mr Sadler has been busking in towns such as Bury St Edmunds and Felixstowe since 2016 and has been able to work it around his illness which he describes as “waking up everyday feeling hungover, exhausted and in excruciating pain”.

The former-marathon runner has since been signed by local Suffolk label GingerDog Records and released his first studio albium called Song on Friday, March 29.

Speaking of the album, Mr Sadler said: “It’s really exciting but it’s scary as I poured so much of myself into it.

“It’s always daunting putting your words in front of other people - I never had that problem when singing covers.”

You can now order Mr Sadler’s debut album here.

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