Booth’s supermarket lends a hand to Lancashire novel

Published: Author Val Scully, with her novel, Under The Spreading Chestnut Tree

Published: Author Val Scully, with her novel, Under The Spreading Chestnut Tree

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A new novel, set in Lancashire, has been given a helping hand by one of the region’s most famous families.

‘Under The Spreading Chestnut Tree,’ a semi-autobiographical first novel from Val Scully, is set partly in the aftermath of the First World War and in the modern day and Booth’s supermarket chairman, Edwin J Booth, gave a helping hand in the research.

Val, who grew up in Salford and now lives in Blaydon-on-Tyne said: “My grandad was in the Lancashire Fusiliers so I spent many of my Summers on his farm in Lancashire so it only seemed right I set my novel there.

“When I decided to include the food production side of the farming industry I saw a link with Booths so wrote to them to see if I could meet with Edwin.”

And Val said the historical supermarket could not have been more helpful.

She said: “I met Edwin at his offices and he was so friendly.

“He spent a couple of hours with me and gave me lots of information about their history as well as allowing me access to their archives at their offices in Longridge.”

Edwin Booth said; “Businesses connected to food—like Booths, offer great insight into the social history of the time. How we cook, shop and eat define the times we live in and I look forward to seeing how she develops this in her novel.”

Val, who spent 20 years working as an English teacher, before becoming a librarian, has already received five-star reviews on Amazon for her book.

And one day Val hopes to see actress Maxine Peake in the lead role of Annie Keaton in a television series.

She said: “I have written to Maxine as I think she would be brilliant as the heroine in my novel but, we will see.”