A book about the Wrekin is topping the best-seller charts at Waterstones in Telford this Christmas beating the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, David Walliams and Sir David Jason.
The Wellington Cobbler and the Wrekin Giant, written by Dave Weston with illustrations from Toni Sian Williams, has been flying off the shelves at the Telford Shopping Centre since publication in September.
It's proving to be the perfect stocking filler with Telford's shoppers and looks set to be the Christmas No 1 at Waterstones in the town this year.
The ancient borderlands of Shropshire have produced many intriguing myths and legends. The Wellington Cobbler and the Wrekin Giant tells the story of how the Wrekin hill may have been formed and also explains how the phrase "going all around the Wrekin" came about.
Janice Hume, bookshop manager at Waterstones in Telford, said: "The response to The Wellington Cobbler and the Wrekin Giant has been phenomenal. Our customers love it and if our sales are anything to go by it looks like everyone in Telford will have a copy in their stocking on Christmas morning."
Shropshire Star, 9th December 2013
Born to Survive author Allan Scott gave an interview to BBC Radio Shropshire on 7th December 2013. Listen to it below.
Peggy the Pig puts in an appearance at the Ellingham Press stall at the Much Wenlock Christmas Fayre on Saturday 7th December
The Wellington Cobbler and the Wrekin Giant is on BBC Radio Shropshire. Click here to listen.
Mary Beard, Cambridge don and star of BBC TV programme Meet the Romans, has blogged about Ellingham Press's books. Read Mary's blog, A Don's Life, here.
The Olympian Games in Wenlock: A Pictorial History
Book Review in the Shropshire Star
Billed as a pictorial history, this is a lovely book telling the story of the Wenlock Olympian Games which are at last receiving their rightful recognition for the part they played in influencing the revival of the modern Olympics.
And, unless you have been on a trip to the outer reaches of the solar system, you will know where the Olympic Games are being held this summer. The man behind it all was William Penny Brookes who must have been a figure of great persuasive powers, encouraging Shropshire farmers' sons and other competitors to take part in events in which there was a lot dressing up, pomp, and pageantry ?something to which they took, so far as can be made out, like ducks to water.
Winners got gongs and it is this ceremonial aspect which is one of Brookes' legacies to the modern Olympics. The fact that there were handsome money prizes made the Wenlock games a draw for Victorian athletes from far and wide.
While tracing the roots of the Wenlock Olympics, the book gives full weight to the games as they developed through the 20th century, and as they continue today, and there are many colour photos bringing things up to date in 2012.
It has not been an unbroken run, interest petered out in the 1960s, only to be revived with renewed enthusiasm in the year of the Queen?s Silver Jubilee in 1977. More recent years have seen the games gain the national and international recognition which eluded them during Brookes' lifetime.
Priced at £12.99, this book is said to be flying off the shelves in Much Wenlock. If the spirit of William Penny Brookes still walks the streets, it must surely be bursting with pride.
Review by Toby Neale
The Olympian Games in Wenlock: a Pictorial History
A new pictorial history of the Wenlock Olympian Games - the inspiration behind the modern Olympic movement - is about to be published.
This lavishly illustrated full-colour book, The Olympian Games in Wenlock: A Pictorial History, is the first to tell the story of the Games' 160-year history from their creation in 1850 by Dr William Penny Brooks to the present day.
Pictures range from sepia tone images of penny-farthings to full colour pictures of recent events, including a visit to the town by the Wenlock mascot last year.
Local historian Joy Sims collaborated with best-selling author, and Much Wenlock publisher, Ina Taylor, on the book, which is officially launched on 30 March at the town's Priory Hall at 7pm.
"The book follows the progress of the Games from their Victorian beginnings in this small Shropshire market town to the thriving celebration they are today and explains their role in the founding of the modern Olympic movement," explained Ina.
"People in the town and families further afield have been incredibly helpful, finding photographs in dusty cupboards and remembering stories granddad told them. It has also been really enjoyable to hear from locals who compete in the games today and to publish some fascinating pictures which have never been seen before," she added.
Anecdotes about competitors include tales of the 1920s Wenlock postman who trained for sprinting events by running from house to house and the local woodman who learnt to pole vault over hedges on Wenlock Edge.
Catherine Beale, who wrote a widely-praised biography of William Penny Brookes last year, has acted as consultant on the project.
It will be sold at retailers around the county and through the website www.ellinghampress.co.uk from 30 March, price £12.99.
Peggy the Much Wenlock Piglet
Review from the Shropshire Star
You will not need telling that the Olympic games are on their way and the full title of this children's book, How Peggy the Much Wenlock Piglet Took Part in the Olympian Games, will give you a good idea of what it's all about.
But first you would need to understand that we are talking about the Wenlock Olympian Games - those sports initiated by William Penny Brookes which helped provide the inspiration for the modern Olympics. This is Shropshire author Jocelyne's first book and it is a delightful one. It is a true story - sort of - as 'chase the pig' was one of the games in the Wenlock games. Oops, given away a bit of the plot there.
She has teamed up with illustrator Isobel Bushell who, like Jocelyne, hails originally from Pattingham. Isobel is clearly an artist of great talent as the drawings are wonderful. The third local link in the team is Ina Taylor, who runs ellingham Press, which has published the book.
It's a simple little story which aims to fire the imagination and spur the interest of children in the events in Victorian Shropshire which were a forerunner to what has been dubbed the greatest show on earth.
This lovely little book combines topicality, local history, and innocent fun for children. And it's only £4.99 to boot.
Review by Toby Neale
Piglet's Olympian story told in new book
A new book which tells the tale of the Wenlock Olympian Games through the eyes of a piglet has been launched.
This beautifully illustrated children's book follows Peggy the Much Wenlock Piglet as she takes part in the town's games organised by Dr William Penny Brookes, the inspiration for the modern Olympic movement.
Based on a true story, it follows Peggy as she competes in a "chase the pig" race and sees other activities such as poetry contests, climbing the greasy pole competitions and cricket matches, all held alongside athletics as part of the Wenlock Olympian Games, started in 1850.
The publication is a joint effort between three local women, Jocelyne Adams, Isobel Bushell and Ina Taylor, who wanted to spread the word about Shropshire's role in sporting history.
"We are very proud of the contribution that Much Wenlock made to the founding of the modern Olympic Games and hope that this book will encourage children, and perhaps adults, to find out more about the fascinating events that took place here around 160 years ago," said author Jocelyne.
"I approached local designer and illustrator Isobel Bushell to collaborate with me on the book and she has done a brilliant job. The artwork is delightful and really brings the story to life."
Isobel added that she hoped that the book would fill a gap in the market. She commented: "We introduced Peggy the Pig because we wanted to engage younger children and get them excited about Shropshire's Olympian connection. It?s a great little story which is a lot of fun to read."
The book is published by Much Wenlock-based Ellingham Press, run by Ina Taylor, who commented: "We fell in love with the book as soon as I saw it and knew we had to publish it." One of the main retailers is another local woman, Anna Dreda, who runs the award-winning shop Wenlock Books.
Published February 2012.
ISBN 978-0-9570781-1-6 £4.99 22pp.