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Wednesday 22nd May 2024

Reading Force patron Sir Michael Morpurgo spent last Saturday afternoon at the National Army Museum, London, with military families for a special event organised by the charity.

In an interview with Professor Alison Baverstock, founder and director of the shared-reading charity, Sir Michael revealed his deep love of storytelling came from his actress mother, who knew how to tell a good yarn at the end of a busy day. Indeed, it was a much looked forward to special time in which he and his brother had their mother’s undivided attention for ten minutes.

Alison Baverstock and Sir Michael Morpurgo

Sir Michael generously answered questions from the audience, who had travelled from all over the UK, and all of whom were from serving or veteran military families, and signed books for every child. Some children had come prepared with letters to give the much-loved children’s author who has written over 150 books including War Horse and Kensuke’s Kingdom. He expressed his profound respect to the military and their families, giving a nod to his not altogether successful short spell in the Army as a young man.

He has served as a patron for Reading Force since 2021, and as Alison Baverstock says:

‘Sir Michael so gets what we are trying to do at Reading Force, and his response to the room full of excited children (and frankly just as excited parents) was gorgeous. We are so grateful for him and Lady Clare for coming along to inspire us.’

The National Army Museum hosted the children with special trails and a lively handling session with objects from rare collections of first and second world war objects. Head of Education at the National Army Museum, Tracey Weller commented of the day: ‘You made a lot of children very happy.’

One military family commented:

‘We had the most amazing day! Sir Michael was wonderful and I could have listed to him for hours! Thank you so much for organising this event.’

Reading Force took the opportunity to load up families with their specially designed resources for military children and family, including scrapbooks and teen journals, which can be shared by military families at home together and when separated by distance, deployment or divorce.

This event was kindly supported by The National Lottery.

For information about Reading Force and how they support serving and ex-serving families: www.readingforce.org.uk

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