Very soon Richard Curtis, feted director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, will have a bag of Hawick balls and haggis land on his doorstep.
And it’s all thanks to young readers from 10 local schools in the Hawick area who picked Curtis’ first foray in children’s picture books, The Empty Stocking, as one of their two overall winners in this year’s Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award
A voluntary project which was created by local parents, teachers and librarians, the awards, held last week at the town’s Tower Mill, are aimed at encouraging reading for pleasure amongst children.
Around 600 children from nine local primary schools and the town’s secondary came together to vote for their favourite debut book by a new children’s author from a shortlist.
The shortlisted books are supplied to schools and special events organised to accompany the awards.
As well as Curtis – whose book was illustrated by Rebecca Cobb – the other overall winner from the shortlist of four picture books and four for junior fiction readers, was Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones.
Youngsters also created a special animated short film about the awards and their favourite books to go with the event and there were appearances by several other children’s authors.
A film crew from ITV were in the town to record the youngsters working on their animation of a scene from the book Shrunk!, by Fleur Hitchcock.
The author and her husband flew up from Bristol for the event and also in attendance were Scots author, Daniella Saceradoti, Rachel Lyon, from Hale, and the illustrator Eva Katz, from London.
These authors each did a school visit to a Hawick primary school on the morning of the ceremony last Thursday..
One of those behind the awards, local primary teacher Julie Patterson, praised all those involved, including staff at Hawick Library for their help. She told us: “This year’s event went really well.
“Unfortunately, neither of the winners could be there, but they both sent messages saying how delighted they were to have won.
“And the winners get sent a goodie bag containing local produce like Hawick Balls and haggis.”