15 Schools, Hundreds of Children, 21,000 Words, and a Very Good Cause - How Sawyers Came to Publish a Book
'Dan Killeen, Managing Partner of Sawyers, Ann Feloy, Playwright and Judge, George, 1st Prize Winner. George received an Amazon Kindle and Waterstones Book Vouchers. George's school received a donation of books and a cash donation to the library'
We were discussing running a schools competition for a little while. Should we make it about poetry, writing, art? When would we do it? What should the prize be? Should we try to help a charity too?
Back in the summer we decided to go for it and began to formulate a plan. We’d make it a collection of short stories written by Worthing primary aged children and to make it a ‘level playing field’ all entrants would begin with the enticing line ‘It all began when the train stopped at Worthing’ – from there, the children’s imaginations were allowed to run riot.
It was obvious to us. Our good friends had recently lost their son, Oliver and determined to try to prevent something similar happening to another parent, had set up Olly’s Future, an organisation to celebrate his life and to raise awareness of suicide in young people. Their work in under two years has allowed hundreds of people working in schools, universities and housing groups to be trained in suicide prevention. What better cause?
From there things just snowballed.
We contacted local schools and looked forward to receiving a few entries. How wrong we were. They flooded in! Stories arrived by the day, involving dinosaurs, war, fantasy, unicorns, fairies and spies. Who knew that’s what might await you in our quiet seaside town?
It soon became clear that this wouldn’t just be a case of putting a few stories online and picking a winner. As more entries rolled in we were amazed at the variety and imagination shown by the children of Worthing. We decided that the only way to do them justice would be to create a book with as many in as possible.
That book has been published today. We have covered all of the costs so that the entire cover price of £3.50 goes directly to Olly’s Future. We hope to raise as much as possible for them and at the time of writing we have orders that take us up to over £500 and we hope for a lot more.
The book is available from our office, 201 Heene Rd, BN11 4NN but you may also see it for sale in your local school or library. We hope that you and your family will enjoy reading all of the weird and wonderful things about the town and you can be sure that your £3.50 will be going to a superb cause.
You can find out more about their work at https://ollysfuture.org.uk/