Blackpool pupils' plan to save Christmas- literally

Primary school youngsters in Blackpool  aren't too worried about whether or not  the Prime Minister says Christmas can happen this year  - because they are all reading a book about saving it!

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 3:45 pm
Left to right - Estelle Bellamy, Jonathan Eaves and youngsters from Gateway Academy
Left to right - Estelle Bellamy, Jonathan Eaves and youngsters from Gateway Academy

Children at Gateway Primary Academy , along with others in the FCAT group, have been working with local writer Jonathan Eaves, enjoying a story about Silver the Unicorn who helps Santa when he is having a bad day.

Because of coronavirus restrictions the author wasn't able to visit them personally but zoomed into the classrooms with the help of technology and talked through the big plan to save the day with pupils.

Blackpool - born Jonathan attended Devonshire Road Primary School and Blackpool Collegiate, where he was taught English literature by renowned Preston author, Joseph Delaney.

He now works as a management development trainer but has always been passionate about writing, both poetry and prose and is no stranger to the publishing world.

His book The Unicorn Who Saved Christmas was especially written for the young daughter of a friend whose favourite things are Christmas and Unicorns and was illustrated by Masha Rassoshenko.

The winning combination has fired the imagination of the primary school youngsters.

Jonathan said: . "I was very fortunate to be taught to read and write before I even went to school, thanks to my big brother.

"It meant that I was always reading, devouring one book and moving swiftly onto the next. I believe good literacy is vital, as it is the building block to so many other subjects, and therefore future success. "

He added: "It is no coincidence that there is a link between more deprived areas and poor literacy. We need to break that link."

I have two sisters-in-law who work for FCAT, as well as a nephew who works as a primary school teacher in a deprived area of Manchester, so I am well aware of the challenges of getting young people engaged in reading and writing."

.

FCAT as a trust have been passionate about inspiring children with a love of reading, but COVID made it very difficult to get writers into schools in person. Jonathan made a film explaining to the children about why he wrote the story and encouraging them to write their own story with his key character.

Joseph Walsh, the reading coordinator at Gateway Primary Academy said: "We are so grateful to Jonathan for sharing his story and his film with our pupils.

"Reading could not be more valuable in the current climate as it gives us the chance to still embark upon adventures, visit new places and meet new people despite being in a national lockdown."