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Icky 'evidence' at St Anne's J and I

Our good friend, Debbie Billard, of St Anne’s Juniors and Infant School in Rotherham, took it upon herself to suggest and arrange a fabulous week of events to celebrate ten years of me working as a children’s author. We are so grateful to her for all her hard work on our behalf…hope you like the flowers, Debbie! It was also interesting to see so much evidence of our son, Simon’s, work – Icky Doo Dah – everywhere around the school. A hard act to follow!

We started the week off by meeting up with teachers and librarians on Monday afternoon, during which I took our guests on a whirlwind tour of my life in Rotherham, my upbringing and the series of unlikely events leading up to me becoming a children’s author. I can’t believe so many turned up after a hard day’s work…and especially on a Monday! However, the audience seemed well-entertained and St Anne’s put on some tasty refreshments for us all to enjoy before and afterwards. Jamie Noble turned up to represent Rotherham United Football Club and we are very grateful for his involvement in helping us promote literacy in the Rotherham community. Through him, we have launched a short-story competition open to every pupil of the schools involved in the Anniversary Week. Thanks, Jamie…and especially for the great prizes you have put up to entice the thousand or so pupils taking part!

Over the rest of the week we performed Mokee  Joe presentations in front of large audiences of KS2 pupils from St Anne’s, East Dene, Coleridge Road, Herringthorpe Juniors and Badsley Moor Lane Juniors. All went extremely well and lots of books were signed, e-mails subsequently received from grateful and inspired pupils and many pleasant memories recalled from me being brought up in the area during my childhood.

A familiar face at Redscope Primary

The highlight of the week had to be the Wednesday visit to my old school, Redscope Primary School. The experience was beyond our wildest expectation… brilliant from start to finish! As soon as we walked into the school I was greeted by a familiar face from the past – Mick Johnson, the school caretaker. Mick was at Redscope the same time as me as a pupil in the year below me. His face and expression were exactly the same…full of mischief! It was great to see him looking so well…a real ‘blast from the past’. A special cake was baked by one of the staff in the form of my first book – Mokee Joe is Coming! It was presented by the Head prior to me starting my presentation. Kath and I were almost in tears. A great day followed, part of which involved opening the new outdoor reading area specially created for the school (congratulations to Jim!). The Rotherham Advertiser turned up and, all in all, it was a great event. A special mention and thanks to Ms Walpole for looking after us so well…but ALL of the Redscope staff without exception were a joy to work with. Brilliant!

The entire week was a huge success and Kath and I are really touched by all the good wishes and welcomes we received from the staff and pupils of our home town over the week. Thank you again to you all! We will keep coming back, you can be assured of that!



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