A mum and her gnu friend are hoping to ease the loss of a sibling through their children’s book, which will be showcased at next weekend’s What’s Your Story, Chorley? literary event.
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Victoria Trundle, of Coppull, will be reading Reu The Rainbow Gnu at the literary festival on Saturday April 28.
The 44-year-old wrote the book after her friends, Nicola and Mike Graham lost their son Reuben following a short illness with a rare brain tumour. He was aged 23 months.
The Glossop couple set up Reuben’s Retreat, which provides a break for families and their close friends who have suffered the bereavement of a child or have a child suffering from a life limiting or terminal illness.
Victoria, who has two children and a step son, said: “I met Nicola and Mike through work at Travel Counsellors. The whole company had followed their journey as they met at a Travel Counsellors conference, got married, and had two children, Isaac, now 10, and then Reuben.
“In 2012, Reuben fell ill and died in the space of two weeks.
“As travel reps, they had taken their sons on many holidays and Nicola said she felt blessed they had so many memories.
“So they set up the charity to offer counselling and a break away in the North West countryside. The idea is to give families treasured memories.
“I had always wanted to write a book and so I wrote a little story just for Isaac, who was four at the time, to help him understand what was going on.
“My dad, Frank Jones, also of Coppull, did the drawings for me.
“It is a rhyming story about a little boy, called Isaac, who goes to bed and Reu the rainbow gnu pops out from under his bed and they go on an adventure to a dream land.
“Isaac says he wants to go home but Reu says he wants to stay as he feels closer to his friends up in the sky. Isaac tells him that wherever you are, you can still remember your friends.
“Isaac loved the story, especially as he was in it and his family were named in it.”
Nicola was so thrilled with the story, she wanted to get it published and so Frank’s illustrations were enhanced into 3D images.
She also turned Reu the gnu into a mascot, which represents Reuben’s Retreat as a charity.
Victoria, who has written two more children’s books since, added: “I visit schools to deliver talks and readings and my husband, Carl, sometimes comes with me, dressed as the gnu.
“We will both be at the What’s Your Story, Chorley? next weekend, where people can listen to the book and buy a copy.”
To buy the book, at £8, visit http://www.reubensretreat.org/product/childrens-book/
Victoria will also be reading to youngsters at Whittle Vintage Tea Room, Chorley Old Road, this Saturday (April 21) , from 2.30pm, until 4.30pm.