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Worcester Graduate Pens First Children's Book

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A charming children’s story, based on an innocent question from two school pupils, has been penned by a University of Worcester graduate.

Gilly Sloper, 65, works as a Cover Teacher at Mullion Primary School in Cornwall, where she was inspired to write her first book - The Fairies of Jenny’s Field.

“I had never planned to write a book,” Gilly said. “One day two of the children in school asked me if I believed in fairies. Of course I said yes, but the conversation sparked a memory from my own childhood and that recollection inspired The Fairies of Jenny’s Field.”

Gilly was born in the village of Mortimer in rural Berkshire and enjoyed the kind of childhood that many young people today can only dream of, roaming the fields and woods around the village unsupervised, exploring and adventuring.

“Jenny’s Field is a real place in Mortimer where my sister Valerie and I used to play as children,” she added. “The story starts in present day Cornwall and sees three children travel back in time to meet me and my sister as children. They witness something magical yet frightening, and save the day with an act of heroism.”

As well as appearing in the story, Gilly’s sister Valerie also produced the cover illustrations for the book.

Gilly studied for a degree in Teaching and Learning from the University of Worcester that was delivered locally in Cornwall by the Learning Institute at Tretheras School in Newquay. This innovative partnership arrangement allows students to gain a first degree or enhance their professional development whilst remaining close to home.

“Having a degree has furthered my career and given me the confidence to cover classes in school whenever required, as well as improving my standing with the parents, who have complete trust in my abilities when it comes to teaching their children,” Gilly said. “Work and family commitments meant I would not have even considered attending a university further afield, so to have a way to gain a degree from the University of Worcester without leaving Cornwall was invaluable to me,” she added.

“I’m thrilled to have had The Fairies of Jenny’s Field published, and I’m also really pleased that both my teaching experience and my degree studies have helped in writing the book. From working with reluctant readers I know that long passages of descriptive writing and adult vocabulary can be daunting for young minds, so I have developed a writing style that I think will be accessible to all.”