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Telford50: Ogre is star of new birthday fantasy book

By Amy Wall | Ironbridge | Telford entertainment | Published:

A mythical children's book celebrating 50 years of Telford has been launched in front of an audience of very excited youngsters.

Toni Williams and the Ironbridge Ogre

Children and parents turned out to Southwater Library in Telford to celebrate the official release of The Ironbridge Ogre, the latest book created by local writer and illustrator Toni Sian Williams.

The book is a young children's fantasy story set in the heart of Telford.

While flicking through the pages readers can expect to discover many familiar landmarks including Wellington Market, Buildwas Power Station, Telford Town Park and, of course, the Ironbridge.

Every primary school in Telford will be awarded a limited edition copy of the book as a special gift from Telford & Wrekin Council to celebrate.

The schools will also receive a lesson plan to help create lessons based on the book.

Children enjoyed a live reading from the new book

"I'm really pleased with the turn out, it's been a long journey but totally worth it," explained Toni, who started the project back in March.

She added: "I didn't expect to see so many people at the launch, and I'm feeling really excited. I brought along some models and some of the illustrations so children can have a look at them. We also ran a series of workshops where children can make their own ogres.

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"There have been lots of fabulous events going on this year to celebrate Telford 50, but I wanted to create something lasting and magical for young children in Telford, so they can both celebrate the town they live in and be educated about the local history at the same time.

"I have absolutely loved creating the book, creating every page took me back to my own childhood growing up in Telford. I hope that this story grows with the children of Telford as many other local myths have done.

"I also hope that it brings people together in being proud of where they live and to be inspired by my story.”

Toni Williams and her latest book The Ironbridge Ogre, free copies will be donated to schools across Telford

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During the launch, children had the chance to meet the real life Ironbridge Ogre, and also get their book signed.

The Mayor of Telford, Raj Mehta, also joined in the celebrations representing Telford & Wrekin Council.

Councillor Mehta said: "In Telford's 50th year there's been lots of events going on. This event is for children specifically, and to see a smile on their faces today is amazing because they're the next generation.

"Today I feel like we've got it right – it's a beautiful project. Sometimes we forget that children are the most important people."

One pound from each book sale will be given to local charities and community projects around Telford, as a way of giving back to the community and supporting local projects.

Christmas Smiles, a Telford based charity which provide gifts to local children and families living in difficult circumstances, will be the first to benefit from the project.

Rachel Preece, fundraiser for the charity, said: "We're so privileged to be chosen because there's so many great charities out there who need to be represented.

Illustrations by Toni, who started the project back in March

"We can make all of those pounds work for our residents. The fact that the book is about Telford in Telford's 50th year is massive so we're really grateful."

Holmer Lake Primary School will be the first school in Telford to receive a free edition on November 9.

Toni and the the Ironbridge Ogre will also be attending the Christmas lights switch on in Ironbridge on December 1.

Amy Wall

By Amy Wall
Trainee reporter - @AmyWall_star

Trainee reporter based at head office in Ketley, Telford.

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