Dame Jacqueline Wilson launches new book at Bluebell Railway’s Sheffield Park Station

Popular children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson made a special appearance at Bluebell Railway’s Sheffield Park Station on Tuesday (September 14) to launch her new book.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 11:48 am

The Primrose Railway Children is a modern reimagining of E. Nesbit’s classic story that tells the tale from the youngest child Phoebe’s point of view.

Lucky pupils from St Giles Church of England Primary School in Horsted Keynes were invited to the event to talk to the novelist.

They also had the chance to take a vintage steam train ride with her.

Jacqueline Wilson with her new book at the Bluebell Railway’s Sheffield Park Station. Photo by Steve Robards, SR2109141.

“I was charmed by the children of St Giles,” Dame Jacqueline said.

“They were very enthusiastic and great to talk to, plus extremely polite,” she said.

Dame Jacqueline, who lives near Eastbourne, said she loves the Bluebell Railway and Sheffield Park Station.

“It’s so beautifully run, perfect in every way,” she said, adding that she has taken several trips before and wants to take family and friends for champagne on the Pullman for a future birthday celebration.

Jacqueline Wilson with pupils from St Giles Church of England Primary School in Horsted Keynes at Bluebell Railway’s Sheffield Park Station. Photo by Steve Robards, SR2109141.

The Bluebell Railway was the set for Carlton’s 2000 TV film of The Railway Children as well, making it the ideal place to launch the book.

“I couldn’t think of a better setting and certainly the TV crews were delighted to be here,” Dame Jacqueline said.

Ruth Rowatt, the railway’s marketing and communications manager, said the venue was excited the author had picked Bluebell Railway for the event.

“The steam heritage line has inspired generations of steam enthusiasts over the past 60 years, and we hope Ms. Wilson’s book inspires more children to find adventure at their local preserved railway,” she said.

Jacqueline Wilson with pupils from St Giles Church of England Primary School in Horsted Keynes at Bluebell Railway’s Sheffield Park Station. Photo by Steve Robards, SR2109141.

Having written her first ‘novel’ when she was only nine years old, Dame Jacqueline Wilson is now one of Britain’s most popular, bestselling children’s authors.

She has written more than 100 books and created many memorable characters like Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather, selling more than 40 million copies.

She is also a former Children’s Laureate and was appointed a Dame in 2008.

The Primrose Railway Children is illustrated by Rachael Dean, who has illustrated many books including Aisha Bushby’s Moonchild series and B is for Ballet.

The book is published by Puffin on September 16.

A Puffin spokesperson said: “Phoebe loves making up stories – just like her wonderful, imaginative dad.

“When he mysteriously disappears, Phoebe, her siblings, Perry and Becks, and their mum must leave everything behind and move to a small cottage in the middle of nowhere.

“Struggling to settle and missing her dad terribly, Phoebe’s only distraction is her guinea pig Daisy - until the family discover the thrilling steam trains at the nearby railway station and suddenly, every day is filled with adventure.”