Radio host sponsored by Oxfam reads 1,000 books in 1,000 days and raises over £1,000 for Gosport schools

THE MINISTER was backed by Oxfam after completing a challenge to read 1,000 books in 1,000 days and delivered 40 boxes of books to Gosport schools.

By Elsa Waterfield
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 11:53 am

Sean Blackman, minister for Freedom Church in Gosport, delivered 40 boxes of books St Mary's Catholic Primary School and Peel Common Junior School last week.

After what became a three-year challenge to read a book a day, Sean gained support from the local community including Oxfam book shop in Fareham.

Sixty-year-old Sean said: ‘I just happened to go into Oxfam bookshop in Fareham. I told them about what I was doing, the manager just said: ‘How can we help you?’

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Sean Blackman delivers Oxfam books to St Mary's Catholic Primary School

With the help of Fareham’s area manager, Veronica Raymond, and shop manager at the Southampton branch, Gustavo Velez Zabala, the charity donated 40 boxes of books for Sean to deliver to the schools in Gosport.

Sean said: ‘This is just about serving children in a way that really makes a difference. It would not have been possible without Oxfam, they’ve been absolutely outstanding.’

‘There’s more books to deliver, so I need more schools now.’

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Sean, also a host on Gosport Hospital Radio, first decided to change his reading habits in 2016 when he pledged to read 30 books in 30 days, after deciding he was spending too long playing games like Angry Birds on his phone.

He said: ‘I realised I had spent over two months on games over the year. I thought - I’ve got to change the way that I live, from that point on I’ve never played another game.’

After breezing through the challenge, Sean decided to raise the stakes, with a plan to at first read 100 books a day, then 1,000 in 1,000 days.

‘I was getting up around 4am to do two or three hours of reading,’ said Sean.

‘Small books like Mr Men were helpful on days when I was getting through the Bible.’

As a governor at Grange Junior School, Sean took on the challenge to encourage students to read, becoming a driving force behind it as they attempted to rival him.

‘Parent’s came back to me and they said they’d never seen them so motivated and that it had ignited their kids desire to read,’ he adds.

Over the course of the drive, Sean dressed up as characters from the books he was reading including the Hungry Caterpillar, the Chronicles of Narnia and War and Peace.

‘People thought I was crazy - and I probably am!’

After reaching his goal in July 2019 - almost three years on - and raising over £1,000 during his effort, Sean is still keen to help donate books to schools in the area.

‘I was over the moon, I want to do more to help encourage children to read by getting books in schools,’ Sean said.

‘I’m back to reading at a slower pace now.’

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