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52 young Telford pupils - aged eight and nine - write book

By Toby Neal | Telford | Education | Published:

If they come to do a book signing of “A Horse’s Tale,” it will take an age.

Young authors from Year 4 at the Meadows Primary School, with the Mayor and Mayoress of Telford & Wrekin, Councillor Stephen Reynolds and Councillor Shirley Reynolds at the VIP launch of their book. A Horse's Tale, at Ketley Community Centre

There’s Oliver Bartlett, Jazmin Kovacs, Naina Kaur, Kara Langtree, Tabitha Childs... in fact all told a total of 52 young authors, all Year 4 pupils at the Meadows Primary School and Nursery in Ketley.

The youngsters, aged eight and nine, have written the storybook based on the heritage of the area, telling the heartwarming tale of a pit pony called Archie who becomes a local hero.

Set in the 18th century when Ketley area had canals and coal mines, it has been written in collaboration with author Dave Weston and illustrator Toni Sian Williams.

“The idea for the story came into being as Meadows is a Heritage school and over the last five years we have learnt about Ketley’s rich industrial past,” said assistant head Karen Tearle, who co-ordinated the project.

“The children were visited by an ex-miner, Cliff Hewitt, who talked to them all about mining from the 1700s to his own time as a miner.

They were particularly interested in the horses that worked down the mine and the special relationship that miners had with their horses.

“We decided that we wanted to write the story of A Horse’s Tale to show this relationship, but to also help children in our school and other schools begin to get an understanding of what mining was like and to share Ketley’s proud heritage.”

A Horse's Tale

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Dave Weston came in to help the children plan out their story story, and over two terms popped in regularly to read the next part as it unfolded.

“We checked our facts carefully as we went along. Finally, we were happy with our story, so we began the editing process.

“This was valuable to the children as it really helped them to improve their editing skills as it had a real audience and purpose.”

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Once the tale was complete, Toni Sian Williams designed the cover to their requirements, taught the children about book illustrations, and helped them improve their pictures.

The book has been published by local publishing outfit YouCaxton and was launched at Ketley Community Centre.

“The children were overjoyed with the result of their hard work and felt really proud to be joint authors.”

“A Horse’s Tale” – the young authors of which have been given the collective pen name of N T Meadows – is available for £4.99 from the school office, The Ironbridge Bookshop and on Amazon. All proceeds will be used to support further arts and culture projects.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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