Book event prompted fond memories of my childhood

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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Some things never change.

The Kings Theatre in Southsea recently hosted the children’s book awards.

This annual event brings schools from all over the Portsmouth area together to celebrate the top two children who are the most avid bookworms. This year the prize was won by Owen Whiteway, of St George’s School, and Kacy Batchelor, of Milton Park Primary.

Author Simon Cheshire also had cause to celebrate when his book, Deadline, won the best children’s read.

It’s so marvellous to have an auditorium of enthusiastic young people excited by literature and it’s good to know that some of the books I read and loved as a child in the ’70s are still just as popular today as they were then.

Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories have just come top in a survey and were closely followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and, another personal favourite of mine, The Lion,The Witch and the Wardrobe.

The poll also revealed that four-fifths of adults read their old favourites to their children.

It’s incredibly heart-warming to hear that some things are timeless and that generation after generation are still enjoying such lovely stories.

My own love of reading was inspired by Ms Blyton and her many tales.

I began my own literary love affair with books at the age of five with The Magic Faraway Tree and The Adventures of The Wishing Chair. These were much more magical than the Five adventures.

My Auntie Rita used to tell me stories that she made up. She had such a vivid imagination and I remember one story she told me in particular about two naughty children.

When I hit my teens I got into reading pony books and adored the Jill books by Ruby Ferguson. These were actually written in the 1950s – and I still have my dog-eared and quite worn copies now. One even has half the back cover ripped off – the calling card of a rather frisky white goat that used to be tethered in the graveyard at Trinity Church in Fareham.

I cherish these books dearly.

The happy memories they conjure up of times long since gone are oh so precious.