Renowned authors take part in story marathon organised by Prudhoe primary school

Allies Group secured press coverage in newspapers including the Hexham Courant, to raise awareness of a charity story marathon held by one of the schools in the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust.

Staff and children from St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School in Prudhoe, part of the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, held a 12-hour story marathon to raise money for charity and to try to make home-schooling a little more exciting.

#tuckedupthursday was streamed for 12 hours on 25th February, where guest storytellers read children’s books, back-to-back. Readers included Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, Piers Torday, winner of The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, Gabrielle Kent, author of The Knights and Bikes and Alfie Bloom series, Jenny Pearson who wrote The Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates and celebrated picture book partnership Paul Linnet and Sue Hendra.

The story marathon was the brainchild of St Matthews’ Headteacher, Martin Gray. Martin originally launched #tuckedupthursday shortly before the first national lockdown in March 2020 when he started doing live story times for the school’s pupils on Facebook every Thursday evening. The aim was to encourage the children to read at home whilst maintaining contact with them while they were unable to attend school.

Martin says: “When the January lockdown started, we decided to go one step further with #tuckedupthursday and hold a special online event to mark almost a year of our weekly story sessions, whilst raising some money too.”

“I feel a bit like the teacher in the Nativity film who promised that Hollywood would come and see their play,” continues Martin. “We had this idea of an amazing end result with top authors taking part and have had to work backwards from there! So, in a panic I sent out lots of pleas to North East and national authors and we’re astounded by the support we’ve received. It’s was an amazing day for everyone.”

All 158 of St Matthew’s students were encouraged to watch the live stream on YouTube, while the event was open to anyone to join in.

Martin adds: “We’ve only recently become part of the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust and one of the first benefits has been tapping into their technical support. Initially I was going to be delivering these stories on my iPhone, now we’ve got all the mod cons, even a green screen!”