Giving something back to St Wilfrid’s Hospice

Gillian Isted with her book "A Very Special Christmas Tree" 14LADec9b-1 PPP-140912-194623006
Gillian Isted with her book "A Very Special Christmas Tree" 14LADec9b-1 PPP-140912-194623006

A BUDDING author has written her first book with a very festive theme in aid of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

A Very Special Christmas Tree has been written and illustrated by Gill Isted from Midleton-on-sea for a charity which is very close to her heart.

“My husband died of cancer 20 years ago and St Wilfrid’s were wonderful,” Gill said. “Without the support they gave to me and three children, who were very young at the time, I’m not sure how we would have coped.”

The book has been illustrated using watercolours and is already available at the hospice’s shops, as well as a number of other locations in the area.

It has been designed for parents to read to their young children, or for older children to enjoy themselves, and the story is themed around the excitement of families choosing and dressing their Christmas tree.

“It’s taken me around four years to do it and I’m thrilled with the result,” Gill said. “Choosing a tree is always a big event in our family, my partner Paul always makes it special and it gave me the idea for a story.

“It all started when I made some Christmas cards for friends and family and I thought ‘I can make this into a nice story’.

“It’s been an ambitious project but having such a purpose has made it easier.”

Initially 1,000 copies have been printed and already 200 have been snapped up, St Wilfrid’s taking half of them for its hospice shops.

Gill has been supported by the hospice throughout, as well as a number of friends along the way.

“I have to say a big, big thank you to Express Printing for printing the books for free,” she said.

“And to Matt Fisher for designing them, as well as my friends who have supported me, Sylvia Marshall and Frances Gosine, who has made Lottie, my mascot bunny.”

St Wilfrid’s are based near Chichester and support people with life-limiting illnesses all across the area.

Every year they help thousands of families like Gill’s when they need them most.

“St Wilfrid’s do such wonderful things and they rely on donations to run,” Gill said. “What they do touches everyone’s lives and hopefully the book is a way of giving a little something back and supporting them.”

The book is free, though a donation to the hospice is asked for, and it is available from the following places: Matthews Hanton Ltd, Aldwick Road, Bognor; Flansham Park Health Centre, Felpham; Tudor Butchery, Middleton Village; Bailiffscourt Hotel, Clymping; Waterstones, Chichester; all St Wilfrid’s shops.