Children’s author inspires Hartlepool youngsters to get reading

Author Tom Palmer reading one of his books with West View Primary school pupils (left to right) Katie Douglas, Rhys Blackwood, Katie Reid and Alex Griffin . Picture by FRANK REID
Author Tom Palmer reading one of his books with West View Primary school pupils (left to right) Katie Douglas, Rhys Blackwood, Katie Reid and Alex Griffin . Picture by FRANK REID

A popular children’s author used rugby to inspire hundreds of Hartlepool youngsters to read during a visit to the town.

Tom Palmer, who has written a series of books featuring rugby, met pupils from seven schools during a whistle stop tour of Hartlepool rugby clubs.

The event was timed to coincide with the Six Nations which is under way.

Tom who works for the sport’s governing body in England, Rugby Football Union (RFU), spoke about his life as an author and read from his books including the new Rugby Academy series featuring an English school rugby team competing in UK and world tournaments.

He also led a fun quiz about reading, which saw the finalists take part in an indoor penalty-taking competition.

A total of 260 pupils took part in the sessions from the Throston, West View, Eldon Grove, Sacred Heart and Kingsley primary schools plus St Hild’s and English Martyrs secondary schools.

Tom visited Hartlepool’s Tech Rugby Club in Wiltshire Way, Hartlepool Rugby Club at Mayfield Park and West Hartlepool Rugby Club, in Catcote Road.

The events were funded by all the town’s rugby clubs and have been organised in partnership with Hartlepool council’s libraries service.

Outreach librarian Heather Bellwood said: “Tom is a fantastic author who really connects with young people.”

Jim Ainslie, chairman of Hartlepool and District Rugby Football Union, said: “The sessions also give us a chance to inspire children with the RFU’s five core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship – again, vital skills for life.”