Dame Kelly to launch book in Diss
He was inspired to write his first children's book after his grandsons could not find anything enjoyable to read about sport.And now former Diss town mayor Glyn Walden is collaborating with sporting legend Dame Kelly Holmes to write a series of children's books that look set to take the country by storm.
He was inspired to write his first children's book after his grandsons could not find anything enjoyable to read about sport.
And now former Diss town mayor Glyn Walden is collaborating with sporting legend Dame Kelly Holmes to write a series of children's books that look set to take the country by storm.
Set in a place called Big Park, based on the picturesque park in Diss, the books feature a variety of creatures and aim to encourage young people to get involved in sport. They also aim to address issues such as bullying, rejection and confidence building.
The first book to be released by the pair is called Katy the Shooting Star and is based on Mr Walden's experiences as a former headteacher.
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The story features a cat called Katy and follows her adventures as she sets her sights on joining the dream basketball team with Selina the hare and Fergal the fox.
Mr Walden, former headteacher at Tivetshall and Methwold primary schools, was inspired to write the story after remembering how a former pupil had struggled to be accepted among her peers.
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He said: “The germ for the book came in an instant when I recalled an incident at school and from there the story went from me to Kelly and back to me and so on.
“I could recall when a young girl was ostracised by the rest of the children in school because she had a handicap. One day I saw her throwing the ball into the net time after time on her own and I said to the children 'why isn't she playing with you'? I told them 'she is the only one that can score a basket and you do not have her on the team'. She was put on the team and they went on to win the school netball tournament two years running,” he said.
“What we are trying to achieve with these books is to emphasise that any child can participate and enjoy sports.”
Mr Walden, 65, has formed a partnership with family members and designer Glen Orford to form publishing company Big Park Books.
He released his first book last year called Gabby Goes for Gold which told the story of a duckling who wanted to do more than just swim.
Mr Walden and double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly were brought together after his son Robert, who is director of sport at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, met her at a sports conference at Loughborough and got talking about his father's desire to write books aimed at encouraging children to participate in sport, which was something she also wanted to do.
Dame Kelly has already written two autobiographical books and a book aimed at getting children to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Katy the Shooting Star is aimed at children aged two to six and is illustrated by local artist and cartoonist Mike Webb.
“Kelly is a first-rate person and very likeable,” Mr Walden said. “In business terms she has got her head screwed on and she responds very well to young people.”
Mr Walden, who is a town and district councillor, said Sainsbury's had asked for 1,000 copies of the book and that Bertram Books were taking several hundred copies.
Each book in the series will focus on a different central character from Big Park, with books about Tyler the tortoise and Lofty the wallaby on their way.
A special Big Park Games book out this summer brings all the characters together to celebrate the Olympics by organising their own.
Dame Kelly and Mr Walden will be launching Katy the Shooting Star at Diss Publishing Bookshop and Café between 11.30am and 1pm on Friday, February 15.