Pre-Prep pupils recently met the decorated Olympic Cyclist, Sir Christopher Hoy, MBE at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Chris was at the festival with co-author Joanna Nadin and illustrator Clare Elsom, promoting their Flying Fergus books. During the talk the children learnt that all of the characters in the books were inspired by friends and colleagues of Chris’, such as Calamity Coogan who is based on his clumsy friend Bradley Wiggins. Calamity Coogan always has a dinosaur on his t shirts because the illustrator wanted to be an archaeologist when she was growing up.

The children also learnt that there are lots of people involved in the publishing of a book, from the agents to publishers, to an editor and a person who is responsible for sales.  Chris then read an excerpt from one of the stories, including some of the funny voices which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

At the end the children asked some fantastic questions, for example: ‘What do you eat before a race?’ ‘How many bikes have you had?’ ‘Where do you keep all your medals?’ and ‘What was your favourite story when you were growing up?’ It was a fantastic event and privilege to meet the Olympic Cyclist.

Dr Carolyn Shelley said, “It was an inspiration to meet such a motivated individual and for the children to understand the journey to success as well as the end result. Sir Chris explained that champions are dedicated – not just ‘born’ and that he had been entering races since he was just seven years old, training for five or six hours a day, six days a week. It was also a wonderful opportunity for the children to understand how the ‘Flying Fergus’ stories were written and to hear all about how the characters came about.  We were even treated to seeing illustrations being drawn during the show –  it was a fantastic afternoon!”