Children in our primary and special schools across Diverse Academies have been thrilled to receive a donation to their libraries of a new novel by Vicky McClure MBE – the actor best known for her roles in the BBC series Line of Duty and the film and Channel 4 mini-series ‘This Is England’.

‘Castle Rock Mystery Crew’ is Vicky’s debut children’s novel and forms part of her awareness raising work as a dementia campaigner. The story revolves around a spate of thefts at a caravan park in Skegness and the children who must bring the culprits to justice.

Karen Bonser, who previously worked in our Trust, organised the donation through her role as charity manager for Vicky McClure’s Our Dementia Choir. She said: “It gives me so much pleasure to offer these books to children, with the aim to bring joy, fun and memories to life, as well as touching on what it’s like to have someone in your life who has dementia. It’s a fantastic read – even as an adult I found it great!

“It is our aim at Our Dementia Choir to raise awareness in younger people of the disease and to assist them if they have someone in their family living with a form of dementia, and this book certainly touches on that during the course of the story.

“As my husband was diagnosed with dementia at 51, when our daughter was only 12, I know only too well the impact it had on her at such a very young age. If I knew then, what I know now, things would have been very different for her, I am sure! We want everyone to enjoy the book – it is an absolute joy to read!”

The books were received along with a personal video from Vicky McClure, who said: “I’ve heard that Diverse Academies schools have got hold of some of the Castle Rock Mystery Crew books that I’ve recently written and I’m really excited to hear what the children think about the books. It features lots about friendship, family, adventure and dementia. I really hope it is helpful, I really want people to escape and enjoy their trip the ‘Skeggy’!”

Based on the reaction of the children to this special gift, we are sure the books will be well loved and help shine a light on this very important topic. We are very grateful to Vicky for the donation and to Karen for sharing such a personal part of her life to help raise awareness of the need for compassion and understanding of dementia, and the impact it can have on families, and especially, children.