North Norfolk Railway volunteers take starring roles in a new children’s book
- Credit: Archant
A children's book telling the tale of a little ginger cat and his pals has scored a hit with North Norfolk Railway's army of volunteers, many of whom are able to spot cartoon-like versions of themselves in its colourful pages.
Written by Poppy Line education department volunteer Christine Parmenter, Morgan the Railway Cat was published after two of the popular attraction's supporters offered to loan the £2,000 needed to cover the cost of producing 1500 copies.
It features illustrations by Essex-based Colin Wyatt, who worked on popular children's magazines for 20 years before going on to produce covers and posters for Disney annuals and weeklies.
Characters include the Mr Hugh the signalman – based on North Norfolk Railway managing director Hugh Harkett, Cherry Bakewell – based on café staff member Vinny Blake, the station guard – volunteer Roger Taylor - and the station master, who was modelled on Mrs Parmenter's husband and fellow railway volunteer David.
'I always wanted to write a book that was specifically about the railway,' Mrs Parmenter explained. 'So everything included in it can be identified and the characters are people who actually work there.'
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Scenes range from the engine sheds at Weybourne station and Sheringham signal box, to the station buffet and a steam train full of happy passengers being waved off by a from Sheringham by a guard.
The book, which is already selling well in the railway's Sheringham gift shop, will be officially launched next month at a two-day family fun event with a 1950s theme.
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Morgan is also featured in the railway's play carriage on Sheringham station, with Mrs Parmenter, who has been a volunteer since 2005, planning to include the book in the storytelling events she runs for youngsters.
'We hope that Morgan will become the Poppy Line mascot,' she said. 'And I am really grateful to everyone who has been involved as, without them, the railway would not have been able to take the risk of publishing the book.
Morgan the Railway Cat, priced £2.99, is available from the North Norfolk Railway gift shop.
The free family fun event will run from 10am-3pm on August 19 and 20 at Sheringham station.