AUTHORS can find inspiration in the most mundane places.
Traffic cones are usually the bane of motorists’ lives but for one Leeds woman they proved to be the inspiration for a series of popular children’s books.
Chris Madeley was stuck in traffic en route to a weekend away when she began to wonder what the cones would say if they could speak. Those thoughts developed into what has become a series of children’s books tackling topics such as road safety, anti-bullying and respect for the police.
She is probably best known as the author of the children’s safety book Meet The Cones, which proved to be a hit with children and parents. The books, which feature talking cones providing safety advice, are also attracting support from big corporate names.
She told Diary: “I am now getting repeat requests! The first electricity book commissioned by Northern Powergrid has proved most successful with their school liaison project as it dealt with keeping kids safe around electricity outside.
“Most kids know not to stick things into plugs but there are many dangers outside such as overhead powerlines.
“The CSR (corporate social responsibility) team at Northern Powergrid has found this book so useful they have just commissioned their second book.”
Mrs Madeley added: “Eurovia/Ringways is the largest road construction company in Europe. They sponsored the second book, Cones Make New Friends, and have now commissioned a book, Cones in the Roadworks, to encourage children and hopefully their parents to realise the dangers around roadworks and to respect the road workers who come in for verbal and physical abuse.
“Cones on the Rails won the National Rail Industry Awards Passenger Safety Award at last year’s award ceremony. I was delighted to have made it to being one of the seven finalists, so you can imagine how stunned I was when we won. I worked with Grand Central Railway on that one – they even put a Cones character on one of their trains going up and down to Kings Cross.”
“We have so many enquiries coming through now that I see a very busy 2018 and onwards.
“I am just so delighted that what started off as a story has evolved into a conduit for keeping children safe and helping them to appreciate the importance of caring for each other and their environment.
“If each book saves one child’s life, or keeps them safe, then it is so worth doing.”
Yorkshire-based female advisers lead the way
Chase de Vere in Yorkshire is bucking the trend in the male-dominated financial advice industry.
It is estimated that only 11 per cent of financial advisers in the UK are female. However, Chase de Vere’s Leeds office, from where the team provides advice to clients throughout Yorkshire, has 7 female and 9 male financial advisers.
A spokesman said: “Five of the top six most successful financial advisers in the Leeds office are women. This is based on business performance, professional qualifications and client satisfaction.”
Kelly Kirby, Jan Anderson, Elizabeth Hastings, Sarah Standeven and Samantha Paskin-Bywater, have a combined 53 years of experience in advising clients at Chase de Vere.
Virginia Kavanagh, regional manager for the North at Chase de Vere, said: “Our Leeds-based female advisers are benefiting from the increasing number of women looking for independent financial advice on retirement planning, investments and generating income.
“At Chase de Vere we are focused on ensuring that woman are able to be successful in the male-dominated financial advice industry and that female clients have access to top quality female advisers, if that is what they want. We are continuing to recruit female advisers in our other offices throughout the UK, although it is our Yorkshire-based female advisers who are very much leading the way.”