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Weekly Edition - Published 05 September 2015

 

Local News Report - Mobile Page

 

St Helens author and pet Pugalug help raise funds for children's charity at Church Square Shopping Centre

YOUNG fans got to meet their canine heroes at a St Helen's shopping centre thanks to a local author. Jessica Parish took along her pet pooch Pugalugs and his laid back pug companion Dug to Church Square Shopping Centre, where she signed copies of her books.

She also read from the book:- 'Pugalugs - The Beginning and Walkies', at the centre's BHS store as part a charity day to raise funds for the NSPCC.

Jessica donated £1 from every book she sold to the charity, which supports families and works to end child abuse.

Former recruitment company account manager Jessica and her husband Mark set up their own publishing company, Pugalug Publishing Ltd, and the couple have been distributing the 1st 2 books around the North West region; with a ⅓, due out in September 2015, but the 27 year old from Newbold says her books have proved so popular, they are now negotiating with several national distribution companies and she's confident her work will soon be on sale right around the UK. She said:- "It's been a steep learning curve to be honest. I got my 1st pet pug, Pugalugs, 4 years ago and his character just inspired me to write children's stories about his adventures. No one had written about a pug character and seeing the way children are drawn to them and how they react when they meet Pugalugs and Dug I thought I had to write about it."

Jessica says she was delighted to be invited to spend the day at BHS in Church Square and help raise funds for the NSPCC. She said:- "It's been really busy and I'm so pleased to have been invited by both BHS and the management of Church Square Shopping Centre. It's been lovely to meet some of the many fans of Pugalugs and to chat about what they like about the books. I certainly don't regret becoming a full time author and publisher and I'm confident the Pugalugs stories will be available in bookshops nationwide before very long. I'd like to thank all the young fans of Pugalugs!"

Warrington teaching assistant David Priestly took along his 3 year old son, Joseph, who was dressed in his favourite Pugalug T-shirt to meet the 2 pooch friends and Jessica. David said:- "Joseph can't read yet, but he can pretty much quote the books word for word. It only took him a few days to know Walkies off by heart. Jessica's books are everything you need in a children's book. We have to read him one of the books at least twice every night when he's in bed and before he goes to sleep. He just loves them to bits. They are great for those that are too small to read as they get to know the stories and once a child is reading they get even more from them. Pugalugs is Joseph's favourite by miles. The stories are just so appealing. He can't wait for the new one to come out."

Caroline White, a credit controller from St Helen's took her 7 year old son, Martin, along to meet Jessica, Pugalug and Dug. She said:- "It's been a wonderful event and I'm so glad BHS and Church Square put the day on. Martin reads the Pugalug books all the time he really enjoys them. He also loves pug dogs now, I think children just like their looks and character. It been fantastic getting to meet Jessica and seeing the two dogs we have read so much about."

Paul Travis, a computer programmer with St Helen's Borough Council, says his daughter Amy, 9, a pupil of Eccleston Meer Primary School, is one of Pugalugs' biggest fans and he was thrilled she got to meet him. He said:- "Amy is an avid reader and adores the Pugalug books. She asks everyday if we can have a pug dog ourselves and I can see the time coming when I'm going to have to give in!" Amy added:- "It's been the best day of the school holidays meeting Jessica and seeing Pugalug and Dug. I love the stories, especially Walkies, which is my favourite at the moment. I'm really excited about the new 1 that's coming out. I keep asking if we can get a pug for a pet; I'm keeping my fingers crossed!"

Church Square Shopping Centre Steven Brogan said:- "Pugalug and Dug have proved very popular today with our young shoppers. As a dad myself, I know how important it is to get children into reading at a young age, and Jessica's books certainly seem to appeal to them. I'd also like to thank all our shoppers who have been so generous in their donations to the charity day at BHS for the NSPCC, which carries out such excellent work."

Michael Bracken, manager of BHS, in Church Square Shopping Centre, said:- "We have been raising funds for the NSPCC through a cake and sweet sale, with everything donated by staff, and through sales of Jessica Parish's wonderful books. It's about community involvement and encouraging local people to shop here in St Helens. We ran an event recently called We Love St Helens and this event came off the back of that. We want to support local people such as Jessica, who is a fabulous author of children's books. We are delighted with the response and the number of people that came along to meet Jessica. We are aiming to raise around £250 for the NSPCC, which is one of the stores charity partners."

Author Jessica said she 1st began writing short stories when a pupil at St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School in Ashton in Makerfield She added:- "However, writing children's books is not as easy as it might seem; it's really hard but great work. We found a wonderful illustrator, Helen Poole of Crosby, Liverpool, but decided to set up our own publishing company so we could keep control of everything. We are even producing Pugalugs merchandise now, such as mugs, T-shirts and bags which are proving hugely popular too. I hope my stories help children get into reading and they learn to enjoy books. The books are really all about Pugalugs and Dug. Pugalugs, who is now 4, is hyper and never calms down, he's so full of energy, but a great character. Dug, on the other hand, is totally chilled out and likes to sleep as much as he can. The 1st 2 books are based on the area around Newbold where I walk my pugs. My third book, Trick or Treat, is coming out on 7 September 2015 and is all about Halloween, and sees Pugalugs and Dug dress up to go trick or treating."

 

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