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Young Roald Dahl fans have jumpquiffing time

Crowds of Roald Dahl crazy kids had themselves a scrumdiddlyumptious time as the curtain went up on a month-long package of special events to mark the centenary of the famous author’s birth at a Wrexham shopping centre.
 
Throughout August, each Wednesday at Eagles Meadow is being devoted to a jumpquiffing celebration of his work and the wonderful world of words he created for his children’s books called Gobblefunk.
 
The Roald Dahl Wednesdays kicked off with a spectacular launch event based around the centre’s own authentic Story Shack modelled on the one Dahl used to write in and attracted scores of reading-hungry youngsters.   
 
Declaring the whole gloryumptious thing open was Dylan Hughes, director of Wrexham Carnival of Words, the annual literary event which has given its official blessing to the Eagles Meadow activities.
 
Future Roald Dahl Wednesdays will be held on August 17 and 24 and are free to join in with.
 
The pre-bookable Imagination Seekers workshop sessions, inspired by the work of  Dahl and approved by his estate, are being hosted by a special organisation known as the Ancient Guild of Tale Tenders whose mission it is to keep alive Dahl’s words.
 
Lasting for an hour, they are suitable for seven to 10 year olds.
 
Between the Imagination Seekers gatherings there aredrop-in sessions when the Guardians of the Tales lead story telling sessions from Roald Dahl books.
 
The Guardians, including librarian Cynthia Checkit MissGloria Sunbeam who reads out Roald Dahl rhymes and poems, are also leading themed craft sessions with Roald Dahl book give-aways each Wednesday.
 
Tying in closely with the fun sessions is the annual Big Read being run by Wrexham Library, this year specially entitled The Big Friendly Read in honour of Roald Dahl.
 
Theme for the Roald Dahl Wednesday launch event was Birds & Wings & Flappy Things.
 
And amongst those letting their imagination take flight was three-year-old Katie Coppack from Hightown in Wrexham.
 
She kept herself busy colouring in her own version of a Roald Dahl bird while her 10-year-old sister Megan enjoyed a storytelling session in the Shack.
 
Their mum Tracy said: “They both love the Roald Dahl stories and have signed up for the Big Read at the library.
 
“It’s great to see that the shopping centre has arranged these special events which are fantastic for the children.”
 
Taking a break from her crayoned creations, Katie said: “I’m having a really good time and my favourite  Roald Dahl character is Charlie out of Willy Wonka. That’s because he goes in the chocolate factory and I want to do that too.”
 
Also thrilled at taking part in the session was young Charlie Thomson, four, from Froncysyllte who was there his mum Kate who said: “He’s a big fan of the Roald Dahl stories and reads them all the time, so it’s great to see the Story Shack at Eagles Meadow.”
 
Another massive fan of the famous author was four-year-old Olwen Mai Arkle from Rossett.
 
As he busied himself with creating a fabulous flappy thing, his dad, Sam, said: “I think having these story sessions at the shopping centre is a really good idea and I’m glad we came today.”
 
Olwen was equally enthusiastic and named the Giraffe Pelly and Me and The Magic Finger as her favourite Dahl books.
 
Karen Hilson from Wrexham had brought along her seven-year-old grand-daughter Libby.
 
Just before heading inside the Story Shack, Libby said; “I love Matilda and the Big Friendly Giant the best. I like Roald Dahl’s stories because they are interesting and have lots of funny words in them, so it was good to come here today.”
 
Eight-year-old Ffion Adamson, from Chirk, was at the launch event with her mum Emma and her friend Drew Dixon Heathcote who was visiting from Wolverhampton.
 
Emma said: “We’d all been at the Odeon cinema to take in a film when we saw the Story Shack and just had to come over and get involved.
 
“Both the girls love the Roald Dahl books. Ffion has just finished reading George’s Marvellous Medicine and is now in the middle of The Twits.
 
“These sessions at Eagles Meadow are a great way of teaching children how marvellous words can be.”
 
Leader Miss Gloira Sunbeam said of the first session: “It really went well and the Story Shack was buzzing as soon as it opened.
 
“We had lots of very keen readers and I think the storytelling has helped to bring out their creative side.”
 
Cutting the tape on the Roald Dahl Wednesdays, Dylan Hughes, former head librarian for Wrexham and director of Wrexham Carnival of Words, said: “It’s a great honour to be here today to launch these weekly sessions in a year which is very important to fans of Roald Dahl – the 100th anniversary of his birth, which was actually in Wales, at Llandaff, in Cardiff in 1916.
 
“He was a master storyteller who created characters like the Big Friendly Giant and Willy Wonka which are still extremely popular today with children everywhere.
 
“He wrote many of his stories in a wooden shack in his garden, just like the one you have here today, and as a former librarian I know how popular they remain.
 
“His books are exciting and wonderful, which is the message of these Roald Dahl Wednesdays.”
 
Also on hand to lend his support was Wrexham military history author Dave McCall, who is a committee member of the annual Carnival of Words.
 
He said: “Eagles Meadow help us to organise the carnival, so it is a pleasure to come along today to give my backing to the first of these very special Roald Dahl events.”
 
All children who take part in the Story Shack sessions are rewarded with a free copy of a book by Roald Dahl to inspire them to keep reading and sharing stories after the event.  
 
Running alongside the Wednesday sessions is a big Brilliant Beasts & Amazing Animals competition based on a creative writing project in which young fans are invited to outline the many magical animals in the wonderful world of Dahl and create their own Brilliant Beast or Amazing Animal fact file.
 
Theme for the Roald Dahl Wednesday on August 17 is Lotions, Potions & Marvellous Mixes.
 
Gobstoppingly Good Guzzling Treats is the theme for Wednesday August 24 and features all things delicious in Roald Dahl, from the head-spinningly wondrous delights of the Chocolate Factory and Mr Fox’s fantastic feasting to horrid Wormy Spaghetti and Mrs Twit’s Bird Pie.
 
The tasty interactive session will allow children to create their own pretend sweets and treats worthy of a place in Mr Wonka’s hall of fame.
 
DAILY SCHEDULE:
 
DAILY SCHEDULE:

 

11am             Imagination Seekers session lasting one hour


12pm           Roald Dahl readings, craft sessions and book giveaways with Miss Gloria Sunbeam


1pm                 Imagination Seekers session lasting one hour


2pm                 Roald Dahl readings and book giveaways with Miss Gloria Sunbeam


3pm                 Imagination Seekers session lasting one hour

11am - 4pm   Arts and crafts activities  last all day

For bookings, go to http://www.eagles-meadow.co.uk/roalddahl

For more information about Wrexham Library’s Big Friendly Reading Challenge, visit www.wrexham.gov.uk/libraries