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A Proper Yorkshire Welcome For Superstar Clare
Clare Balding
The countdown has begun for Yorkshire’s major new Children’s Literature Festival, taking place at Broughton Hall near Skipton in September.

One of the stars of the festival, Clare Balding, fresh from anchoring the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon, has met up with Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, to finalise plans for her visit.

Welcome to Yorkshire is one of the main sponsors of this pioneering event, which takes place between Thursday 27 and Sunday 30 September. The first two days will see authors going into schools ahead of the festival itself at Broughton Hall over the weekend.

More than 65 authors, poets, illustrators, storytellers and animators, including Clare herself, Sir Chris Hoy, M G Leonard and G P Taylor, will be taking part. Over 200 schools will be involved, reaching out to over 40,000 children across Yorkshire.

The Festival is the brainchild of Trevor Wilson, managing director of Authors Abroad, the leading organiser of authors’ visits to schools across the world.

It will fulfil Trevor’s life-long dream of bringing some of the biggest names in children’s literature to the idyllic setting of Broughton Hall, home of the Tempest family since the 11th century.

Clare, whose latest children’s book, The Girl Who Thought She Was a Dog, has just been published, explained: “I can’t wait to come to Yorkshire. I have happy memories of the county and I believe strongly in the importance of encouraging children to read from a very early age. I loved reading when I was young and, together with my animals, this formed a crucial part of my childhood.

“My favourite books were Black Beauty, Olga da Polga, War Horse and My Friend Flicka and I wish Horrible Histories had been around when I was a kid. They all allowed me to escape into my own magical, alternative world and fuelled my imagination. They were also a really good way to learn about practical and emotional situations and how to react to them.”

Sir Gary Verity DL and Clare Balding
There is also another very important reason why Clare is supporting Yorkshire’s first-ever major children’s literature festival. The festival is raising money for leading UK mental health charity The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, which was formed by the Waller family after 28-year-old Charlie, a successful advertising executive, took his own life whilst suffering from depression.

“I knew Charlie’s brother Richard well at school, and we also both studied at Cambridge. The Trust does tremendous work in raising awareness about depression and removing its stigma. I am delighted that the festival has linked up with the Trust, underlining the importance of reading in supporting and improving the mental wellbeing of children,” said Clare.

“So it is a privilege to be taking part in Yorkshire’s first-ever children’s literature festival. I want to convey that love of literature I had as a child to as many children today as I can today,” she added.

Sir Gary Verity DL commented: “It is a real coup and a privilege to have Clare at the festival. As a much-loved star of TV and radio and now also a popular children’s author, I know her appearance on the Saturday afternoon will be a massive highlight.

“Welcome to Yorkshire is proud to be a supporter of this wonderful initiative, which will showcase the beauty of Broughton Hall as well as promoting the love of reading in schools across the county.

“Yorkshire has a great literary history, with internationally acclaimed writers including Alan Bennett, the Brontë sisters, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson and many more, so it’s fantastic to hear that the county’s stunning Broughton Hall will be playing host to an array of wonderful children’s authors in September at this major children’s literature festival.

“Books play such an important part in people’s lives and it’s crucial to encourage reading at a young age. This fabulous event promises to be a lot of fun for all ages”.

Trevor Wilson explained: “I don’t just want to establish a new children’s literature festival in Yorkshire, exciting as that is. My ultimate aim is to make this the biggest festival of its kind in the UK.

“The line-up is very strong already and we will build on this, year on year, as news of the Broughton Hall Children’s Literature Festival spreads and our reputation grows. There has been nothing like this in the north of England, so we have entered uncharted territory, but we are proud of the substantial progress we have made to date.”

A Proper Yorkshire Welcome For Superstar Clare, 27th July 2018, 22:21 PM