Owls brought to book in charity drive

SHEFFIELD Wednesday are backing a new series of books which aims to encourage children to read, in the club's latest drive to raise money for the Children's Hospital Charity.

Peter Shaw, a director of Wednesdayite – the second largest shareholder at Hillsborough – was at Sheffield Children's Hospital yesterday to launch the scheme, in which the first book in the series will go on sale through the Owls website.

The book, called Max and the Suspicious Green Gooey Thing, is on sale for 6.95, but 1 from each sale goes to the Children's Hospital Charity and a further 1 goes to Wednesdayite's Smile Tickets scheme.

Smile Tickets are awarded on a match-by-match basis to long-term sick children and also to unemployed adults who would not usually be able to attend a football game.

Mr Shaw said of the book: "It's a fairly simple story in terms of plot, but uses more challenging language.

"It's about getting children who are 10 or 11 years old and becoming demotivated with reading to regain an interest in books. Often they are capable, but have lost interest."

Written by Andy Spong and illustrated by Kathryn Saunby, the book tells the story of a dog, Max Airedale, who lives on a barge called the Hillsborough Owl.

A spokesman for Sheffield Wednesday said: "Peter has acted as literary consultant, advising on language, structure, age appropriateness and story lines.

"Football clubs throughout the land now encourage their young players who come through the academy to continue their education.

"We are attempting to support the educational aim by encouraging the development of reading and literacy skills."

Sales of the book are also part of an ongoing partnership between Wednesday and the Children's Hospital Charity.

Following the Steel City derby match in April, the club raised 3,362 by selling signed players' shirts online. At the match, both the Owls and the Blades wore shirts emblazoned with the charity's logo.

The senior fundraiser at the Children's Hospital Charity, Simon Athey, said yesterday: "We are really grateful to Peter for supporting the charity in this way.

"Since we started our special partnership with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, Wednesdayite has had various fundraisers for us and its lovely to see another member, yet again, supporting the hospital and our young patients."