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Pete outside the fab Francis Baily School

We had a fab time at a school just a stone’s throw from our Berkshire retreat…the lovely Francis Baily School in Thatcham. It’s a big school and around 255 pupils filled the hall – Years 4 to 6. They proved an amazing audience and Kath and I enjoyed a wonderful day with them. The school is building a real ‘reading culture’ and the book-signing the next day proved the point when I signed a fantastic number of Mokee Joe books over three hours! By the end of the signing my signing hand was succumbing to repetitive strain injury! The librarian, Mrs Susan Mumford, proved the perfect hostess and looked after so well; in fact all of the staff we encountered were a real joy to be around. Francis Baily school made a tremendous impression on us and we can’t wait to be back with our new fans.

Next stop was Maidstone, in Kent. We already have a great connection with Aylesford Primary, but

Great Display at Aylesford Primary

now they have three brand new schools in their cluster and we were invited to visit all of them…brilliant! So our good friend, Mrs Sarah Bone, was waiting for us and didn’t we have a great time! It was a fantastic four days, starting at Aylesford Primary with a Bonebreaker Trilogy presentation, followed by a combined Mokee Joe presentation for the juniors of Kings Hill, Holbrough Lakes and Leybourne Chase. And not forgetting the fabulous little ones in KS1 at all of the schools…with an Icky Doo Dah presentation on behalf of Simon (he is already invited along with us next year!)

The pupils at all of the Maidstone schools were a joy to work with, as were the staff. Kath and I were even taken out to dinner in downtown Maidstone at the end of our stay…what a treat. Even more incredible, I got to talk about fishing with lovely Elaine…accompanied by yawns of boredom from lovely Sarah (and Kath…but she’s more used to it!)

All in all, a truly wonderful week – even if we did get lost on the brand new housing estates on our last day! We’re already ticking off the weeks until next February…can’t wait to be back and to ‘grow’ along with the amazing Valley Invicta schools of Maidstone.


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