Childrens Book Is Clear Winner

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A LOCAL opticians and the Driffield Inclusion Saturday Club (DISC) has joined forces to write their own children's book, Henry Hippo.

The story was written by former Specsavers employee Helen Richardson and all illustrations were lovingly drawn by 38 members of DISC. Driffield Specsavers is now looking for the community to pledge donations in return for a copy of the book and all donations will be given to the National Blind Children's Society.

Henry Hippo was officially launched by Mayor Paul Rounding during a special family fun day at Driffield Specsavers.

The store was transformed to feature a story telling break out area where local children and members of DISC gathered to listen to Helen Richardson read her Henry Hippo story for the first time in public. Children and adults alike enjoyed face painting, took part in a colouring competition and tried their luck on a raffle. In total more than £330 was pledged through generous donations.

Nigel Irons, lab manager at Specsavers in Driffield, says: 'The store and DISC have been on a charitable mission for many years but we decided to focus our energies on another cause and help another charity.

The idea of us writing our own book soon followed and in no time at all Henry Hippo was born. With great care and affection, the story of Henry Hippo has been written and the budding artists at DISC have truly brought his character to life.

'Our inspiration for the book was simple: to educate and inspire young children about their trip to the opticians and to raise much-needed funds for the National Blind Children's Society.'

National Blind Children's Society chief executive Carolyn Fullard says: 'Henry Hippo is a lovely idea and I'm sure it will help spread the word that children have nothing to fear from a visit to the opticians. NBCS campaigns for all children to take up their free annual eye tests. Early diagnosis of visual disorders can mean a child's sight is saved.

'I hope lots of families will read this delightful story book and spread the word about the importance of regular eye tests for children and young people.'

Henry Hippo tells the story of a young hippopotamus who is feeling glum because he cannot read his school books, keeps walking into lampposts and tripping over his dog Bumble.

The story follows Henry on his trip to visit the opticians where he finds out he needs a pair of glasses. Once Henry selects his new specs all becomes clear and Henry becomes a very happy hippo once more.

Back in 2008, Specsavers in Driffield formed a partnership with DISC, part of the Driffield Youth Service, and they have been fundraising together ever since. The partnership decided it was time to raise money for another charity and so all proceeds raised from book sales will be donated to the National Blind Children's Society.

Driffield Specsavers will now take Henry Hippo on a tour of local schools educating children of primary school age about visiting the opticians to overcome any fears or apprehension and to ensure it's something children look forward to and enjoy.

Driffield DISC plays an active role in the community by organising trips and entertainment for children and young adults with learning and physical disabilities. 

In the past Driffield Specsavers has provided the entire DISC group with branded fleece jackets, helped fund the group leaders training session, a one day course run by the East Riding County FA, on coaching football to children and adults with physical and learning difficulties. Following, the completion of the training session, DISC launched the Specsavers Inclusion Trophy a 7-a-side football competition.

Mr Irons adds: 'Our only hope is that young readers have as much fun reading Henry's story as we have had bringing our book to reality. More so I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who took the time to get involved in supporting our charitable cause and for those who make donations.'

- Ends

Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of Specsavers Opticians