Holy grail of children’s books

WHAT A FIND From left, Nigel Gossop and Dennis Butts with the book.    Picture: Ian Hargreaves (110635-3)
WHAT A FIND From left, Nigel Gossop and Dennis Butts with the book. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (110635-3)
Former pupils at the 2017 reunion, above, and a class in 1956, below		 Picture by Habibur Rahman (170854)

Fareham school celebrates 60th anniversary

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THE discovery of the first book ever published by Portsmouth’s answer to JK Rowling has been hailed as the ‘holy grail’ of local children’s literature.

A unique copy of Percy Westerman’s swashbuckling boys’ adventure A Lad of Grit – which included a dedication to his son Jack – has just had its first public outing thanks to the perseverance of a local enthusiast.

Nigel Gossop wanted information for a seminar at Portsmouth Grammar School – where the author was a pupil.

And he was lucky to attract the attention of children’s literature expert Dennis Butts, who had the rare book in his possession.

Mr Gossop, 57, a lecturer at South Downs College, said: ‘This is the most exciting find to date.

‘When I picked up the book it was like holding the holy grail.’