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‘How I Write’

by Anthony Ridgway

Anthony Ridgway has made this short video to show how he wrote his children’s book Wizzy the Animal Whisperer.


Anthony, who has cerebral palsy and is partially sighted, writes using Dolphin Guide, a computer programme that enables him to find the keys on a large keyboard with the computer speaking out each letter, number and space as he presses the relevant key.
     It is a similar way of writing to that used by Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge, but Stephen uses a combination of head, eye, and cheek movements to operate the computer, as well as predicted text which speeds up his writing.
     Using Dolphin Guide on his PC, Anthony writes for an hour or two each day. It is a laborious process … as Anthony says, Because I only write with one finger, it takes me about a year to write a book.


“Wizzy, the Animal Whisperer made me laugh out loud.” David Suchet


“. . . funny, imaginative and extremely visual, and the wonderful illustrations by the talented Suzan Houching bring this great story to life even more.” Ros Holness


To buy the book Wizzy the Animal Whisperer

written by Anthony Ridgway

and illustrated by

Suzan Houching

go to LittleKnollBookshop  


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Anthony R in studio croppedIt was a great day in London for Wizzy and his author

Anthony Ridgway

attending the audio-recording of

Wizzy the Animal Whisperer

voiced by

David and Sheila Suchetwizzy-book-cover-front-b-200ppi-rgb



In the children’s story, written by Anthony and illustrated by Suzan Houching, Wizzy and his friends, Dan, James and Sophie, set out to solve a mystery on their farm holiday and end up having an amazing adventure with the help of Wizzy’s special powers.


Anthony R boarding train 6inW 200ppiActually, it was Wizzy’s alter ego who went to London with Anthony, this being a manual wheelchair with electric drive fitted to the large wheels – a bit like an electric bicycle. ‘Alter Ego’ Wizzy allows Anthony to sit a bit lower than in ‘old faithful’ Wizzy and this gives enough headroom for both of them to get into a London Cab.


On train 6inW 200ppiThe railway journeys worked wonderfully. There was help on hand at each railway station to place the ramp (this was organised beforehand by Grethe, Anthony’s mum and main carer) and once on the train we found ourselves guardians of the accessible toilet, it being conveniently situated opposite the space allocated for wheelchairs and bicycles! We also had a good view of the passing countryside …

Ant in cab 6inW 200ppiAt Waterloo Station we joined the queue for a cab and with the help of our Cabby manoeuvred Wizzy up the ramp and into the central space of the cab. Wizzy just fitted with a bit of wriggling, and then Grethe and I climbed in and squeezed onto the seats.
I must admit, seeing Anthony’s face when Wizzy reached the top of the ramp, I could hear the words he had written in his book –
[Dan] ‘I felt a brief sensation of fear. Was this such a good idea?
[Wizzy] “I will protect you, Dan. Do not worry.”
[Dan] “Nothing gets past you does it?”’


Rehearsing 6inW 200ppiArriving at the RNIB Talking Books Studios, we found the studio manager, Daryl Chapman, there to greet us, and he guided us down the lift and into the recording suites. David and Sheila Suchet were already in the studio, rehearsing the book script while the sound engineer, Paul Pink, adjusted the sound levels ready for recording.
Ant in recording booth 6inW 200ppiThe ‘large’ recording technician’s booth had just enough room for Anthony (and Wizzy) to get a front stall view and Grethe and I to stand behind Paul. The recording started and we were spellbound …
We had set David and Sheila a challenge, asking them to conjure up different voices for each of eight characters.
Anthony’s writing is dialogue driven, logical as his hearing is very acute. This required each character in Wizzy the Animal Whisperer to have his or her own distinct voice.
recording 6inW 200ppiDavid took the parts of narrator, Dan, Wizzy, Neil Hayes and the Police officer, and Sheila took the parts of James, Sophie, Mrs Braishfield and Karl – quite a task, especially when changing from one character to another during a quick exchange of words.
Of course, David and Sheila were up to it, producing the whole range of voices, and without hesitation – in Wizzy’s words, “Affirmative. I’ve processed the information. My speeds are the best.”
Ant, Sheila & David 6inW 200ppi
It was a wonderful day and our thanks go to the railway services, the London cabbies, RNIB Talking Books Studios, and most of all to David and Sheila Suchet.
Without Anthony we couldn’t have done it, and, as the children say in the book, We couldn’t have done it without Wizzy.”



The audiobook will be coming soon. Please email me if you would like a copy – jenny@littleknollpress.co.uk


wizzy-front-of-pcard-invitation-250ppi-rgbThe printed book, beautifully illustrated by Suzan Houching, is available now.
To buy a copy click on the picture to the right

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norwood school 2 cropped

Pupils of Norwood Primary School with Anthony Ridgway, Grethe Ridgway and ‘Wizzy the Animal Whisperer’

On 1st March 2017 in preparation for

World Book Day

children’s author

Anthony Ridgway

enthralled pupils of Norwood Primary School with his recently published book


the Animal Whisperer


Ant with keyboard 10.64cmW 400ppi RGB colour adjAnthony, who has cerebral palsy and is partially sighted, writes using Dolphin Guide, a computer programme that enables him to find the keys on a large keyboard with the computer speaking out each letter, number and space as he presses the relevant key.

    It is a similar way of writing to that used by Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge, but Stephen uses a combination of head, eye, and cheek movements to operate the computer, as well as predicted text which speeds up his writing.

    Using Dolphin Guide on his PC, Anthony writes for an hour or two each day. It is a laborious process … as Anthony says, “Because I only write with one finger, it takes me about a year to write a book.


Norwood school 1 cropped

The children were fascinated to hear Anthony speak, look at the lovely book illustrations by Suzan Houching and listen to some pages from Wizzy the Animal Whisperer being read out loud.



They had lots of questions for Anthony, including:-

Why do you write?

AnthonyI’ve always liked writing ever since I was little. My dad and I did my autobiography and since he died I wanted to be able to do my own writing, so I got a special programme called Dolphin Guide. Writing is a good way of sharing my ideas; I can get them down on paper.

How many books have you written and where do you get your ideas?

Anthony “I’ve written eight books at the moment and ‘Wizzy the Animal Whisperer’ came from a farm holiday, for example.

Where did you get the name ‘Wizzy’ from?

Anthony “It came from a friend who called my wheelchair, ‘Wizzy wheelchair’.

Are you ever worried you’ll forget an idea?

Anthony “Yes, I do have to come and write it down.

What is your next Wizzy book about?

Anthony “I am writing another one at the moment and we’ll see what happens.


wizzy-book-cover-front-b-200ppi-rgbWant to buy the book?

Click on the picture 

ISBN: 978-0-9927220-9-8 

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letters-from-manchuria-front-cover-12cmw-200ppi-rgbOn Saturday 21st January

12 noon – 1pm

Neil T. Sinclair

will be in Waterstones Sunderland

signing his book

Letters from Manchuria – The Story of Marion Young missionary in Japanese-occupied China

ISBN: 978-0-9935078-1-6

17a newspaper article greyscale cropped ..cmW 200ppiIn 1935 Marion Young arrived in China to work as a missionary sponsored by the Girls’ Auxiliary of the Presbyterian church’s Women’s Association for Foreign Mission. For for the next six years she wrote weekly letters home to her parents in Ireland. Her letters give a vivid picture of life in the market town of Faku and also of the villages in Inner Mongolia which she visited as part of her mission work.


Helen and Neil working on the book.

Neil Sinclair and his wife, Helen, spent over a year sorting through the hundreds of letters which Helen’s mother, Marion Young, had sent home during the years from 1935 – 1941 when she was working in Japanese-occupied China. They then transcribed extracts from the letters with Helen reading and Neil typing into the computer. Next came the task of deciding which photos to use in the book ‘Letters from Manchuria’. It is a fascinating story of a young woman working in a remote and harsh place, the political and social history of north east China, and of the resilience of the people who live there.


This photograph is of Marion’s senior colleague, Dr O’Neill’s 70th birthday party: Marion wrote home –
The 70th birthday is a very big day in a Chinese family, so we are to be his family and act things out. Joey and I are going as twins – his granddaughters.

In the photo Marion is 5th from the left and Joey McCausland is 7th from the left. Dr Frederick and Annie O’Neill sit in the centre.

marion-companion-with-baggage-bearer-200ppi-greyThis photograph shows Marion travelling with Wang Ssu Wen to visit one of the small ‘churches’ in the area surrounding Faku. The church was often a small family group with a Deacon.
Marion wrote home –
We were cycling straight into a north wind … a man carried our luggage on a long pole over his shoulder – about 80 lbs – no small weight for that distance (18 – 20 miles).

111) Pg 214 MCY & Miss Wang grey 8cmW 200ppiMarion and Ssu Wen would stay in the Deacon’s house, often also the church. The house in the photo is luxurious compared to most.

Marion wrote home –

This photograph will give you some idea of what a k’ang looks like. The bedding is rolled to the back during the day. The chests at the side hold everything … in the foreground is a stove with a kettle on – that isn’t proper Chinese …

060 pg 78 Little Peace and Happy Grace greyscale 6cmW 400pp lighter12iMarion felt at home with the Chinese people from the start.

She wrote home about ‘Little Peace’ and ‘Happy Grace’ –

They are both about 3 years old and the greatest of friends. En Fu runs with a shriek of “Ping An! To lie la!” (Ping An she’s coming) when I heave into sight.

When writing about the oppression of Japanese rule, to avoid the censors Marion used coded words. On the rare occasion when she could send a letter back by hand with colleagues going on furlough she could be more open.  

They treat folk a bit more kindly before freeing them, to give the marks of beating or torture a chance to clear up – isn’t that a bright thought?

You can buy a copy of this book from www.littleknollbookshop.co.uk or by emailing Jenny@littleknollpress.co.uk

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15492395_10153905672362434_8967320120660559231_nDon’t miss

The Herald’s

Book Fest 2016

Saturday 17th Dec

St John’s Hall

New Street, Hythe

(opposite St John’s Church)

10am – 2pm

There will be more than 15 authors to meet – see below – and a charity cafe.

All of these books are available to buy from The Herald, 2 High Street, Hythe.

If you don’t live near Hythe you can buy any of the Little Knoll Press books by clicking on the book title.

Simon Chadwick: On the Banks of Hatchett Pond, Podge Goes Splodge, Fudge the Jersey Cow, Samuel the Donkey, New Forest Litter Bugs, New Forest Friends Pony Pests, New Forest Friends Metal Monsters.

My Story in Colour by New Forest artist Suzan HouchingSuzan Houching: My Story in Colour

 wizzy-book-cover-front-b-200ppi-rgbWizzy the Animal Whisperer 

illustrated by Susan – author Anthony Ridgway





Gervase Gregory: A Lifetime in Postcards 



Welgora vers10 front RGB 8cmW 600ppi

Alan Langford: WELGORA






John Leete: New Forest At War book plus DVD.

Pacific Avengers front cover RGB pcard sizeMike Roussel: Quest For Speed, Spitfire’s Forgotten Designers, Pacific Avengers, Shipwrecks of the Cunard Line, Southampton Maritime City, Southampton Docks, Union Castle Line




Roger Hansford with Sylvia Oldroyd (Roger’s Mum): Fawley’s Frontline 
Marianna Kneller: The Majical World of John Clare; prints and cards.
Martin Bradley: Sky Dancer, Top Gun of the Sky, Dusk Til Dawn, River King.
Graham Parkes: Hythe A Waterside Village.
Steven Antczak, Tony Johnson & Robin Street: From Forest Field to Western Front recently published following the well-received East Boldre WWI airfield exhibition last year.
Roy Sanderson: Jack the Enigma
Michael Forester: Dragonsong, If It Wasn’t For That Dog!, The Goblin Child.

seagulls-front-cover-200ppi-rgb-for-websiteMaldwin Drummond: The Strange History of Seagulls 




Lexley George & members from local Writer’s Group

Hearing Dog Matt, will be making a guest appearance.
Jacqui Haskett: therapies & gifts.
Dorothy Lockyer: Potpourri of Poetry and others.

Also available will be other titles for sale from The Herald: Hythe Pier Train book, Exbury Junkers by John Stanley,

Jacks Country book front cover - Nielsen 648pixHJack’s Country biography of Jack Hargreaves by Paul Peacock,

Aeroaddict front cover for website AEROADDICT by Doug Gregory DFC,

Hampshire Airfields, as well as the Hythe Souvenir range of mugs, fridge magnets, bags, posters, postcards and framed prints.

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To buy Letters from Manchuria go to www.littleknollbookshop.co.uk

Letters from Manchuria

The story of Marion Young Missionary in Japanese-occupied China

edited by

Neil T. Sinclair

ISBN: 978-0-9935078-1-6

In 1935 Marion Young arrived in China and for the next six years she wrote weekly letters home to her parents in Ireland. Her letters give a vivid picture of life in the market town of Faku and also of the villages in Inner Mongolia which Marion visited as part of her mission work.

The letters and photos were passed down to Marion’s daughter, Helen, and son-in-law, Neil, as the ‘family historians’. When they began to look through them they realised the insight they gave to being a missionary in Manchuria (named ‘Manchukuo’ by the Japanese) and to life there in the late 1930s.

     Retirement gave Helen and Neil the time to sort out the hundreds of letters, summarise the contents and make difficult decisions about which of the many interesting passages should be included in this book.

    Once this was done, Helen read out the selected passages while Neil typed into the computer. They then chose the 156 photographs that illustrate Marion’s story.


Helen and Neil Sinclair at work


A missionary’s pay was tiny, but Marion afforded a few gifts for her family. This embroidered peacock is part of the design on a silk jacket which she brought back from China.



Marion with her classmates circa 1917


A newspaper article announcing Marion’s departure for China

Marion Young was born in 1911, the eldest of eight children, and grew up in Galway during the turbulent times surrounding Irish independence.

     A childhood friend remembered, ‘even before she was ten, Marion was going to be a missionary. It was not a day-dream, but an intention; she had no need for day-dreams.’

     When in 1935 Marion was appointed to China by the Irish Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Association for Foreign Mission, she wrote to her parents, ‘Am I happy or am I happy? Whoopee! Whoopee!! Whoopee!!’ This was the start of a long correspondence. 

From China Marion recalled the ‘smell of fresh cut hay, the Mournes with gorse blazing gold, the smoke lying over Milford in a hollow on a summer evening seen from Allan’s lane’, and how it ‘cut out completely the spits and smells around me’.

     She wrote about two wee boys, Ping An, the cook’s son, and his friend, En Fu, in winter clothes – ‘the quickest way to scatter them is to look up – they flee like two little fat bundles with feet stuck on the bottom’.

    Later she started a letter home with the words, ‘Christmas morning – grey, dank – wakened by running feet outside my window’ – the start of her account about how she and a colleague rescued the cook’s daughter-in-law from the bottom of the well. 


Little Peace and Happy Grace at play


Marion and Wang Ssu Wen, evangelist, en route for Chin chia Tiu with baggage bearer



Marion and Ssu Wen sat on a k’ang

Ever present was the oppression of Japanese rule. In her letters Marion used ‘coded’ words, such as ‘Black and Tans’, to avoid the attention of the censors, but when able to send letters with fellow missionaries who were returning home, she wrote clearly about the torture of Chinese citizens, remarking, ‘They treat folk a bit more kindly before freeing them, to give the marks of beating or torture a chance to clear up – isn’t it a bright thought?’

    As Douglas Alexander writes in the foreword, ‘what emerges is the deep respect and indeed fascination with which Marion and so many of her colleagues regarded their Chinese students and the culture and civilisation of which they were part.’

      Marion was very much a part, and when a Taoist priest looked at her ‘several times in a puzzled way and then said, “She isn’t of our people then?”’ she felt ‘highly complimented’.

This beautiful hardback book will fascinate anyone interested in China and its history before the revolution, but it is equally absorbing for any reader who enjoys a great real-life story.
   The book is richly illustrated with photographs (156 of them) and detailed historically correct maps of the area where Marion was working.
     Marion’s writing is lyrical without ever being pretentious and her sense of humour shines through, as does her delight when she was able to use a little Irish blarney, sometimes to get out of extremely risky situations.
    Her story is full of suspense as well. The period of Japanese occupation was precarious for everyone and then with the start of the Second World War the dangers for Westerners living in China escalated tenfold.

‘Today we are celebrating Dr O’Neill’s 70th birthday, Chinese fashion. A 70th birthday is a very big day in a Chinese family, so we, two schools, hospital, evangelists and pastor, are to be his family and act the thing out. There are 23 of us altogether. Sons and daughter, granddaughters and number of great granddaughters. We are all wearing Chinese clothes. Joey and I are going as twins – his granddaughters, dressed in deep red gowns.’


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The Strange History of Seagulls

written and illustrated by

Maldwin Drummond

ISBN: 978-0-9935078-0-9

To buy
The Strange History of Seagulls 
go to Little Knoll Bookshop

The book launch for this new children’s picture book was held at The Jolly Sailor, Ashlett, on Saturday 19th November 2016.


A better place could not have been chosen, as Maldwin’s stories – ahem! the seagulls’ stories – start with the landing of Vikings at Ashlett Creek in the year 839.


Here, a Viking thrust an ash stave into the ground, which grew into a tree and gave the place its name.


Now, there is an old Nordic myth that those who eat the fruit of an ash thus planted by a Viking will find they can speak and understand ‘seagull’ … here hangs the history of The Waterside narrated by George, the historian of seagulls, and his descendants.

 Gervase Gregory’s postcard of The Jolly Sailor from his book A Lifetime in Postcards.aslett-creek-ggs-pcard-with-outline-rgb

 Each page is illustrated with Maldwin’s characterful watercolour sketches of the seagulls and their adventures.




Maldwin signing books at the launch of ‘The Strange History of Seagulls’

Maldwin Drummond OBE has always been immersed in the history and ecology of The Waterside, the area between the New Forest and the Solent, originally described by Maldwin as the place ‘where the sea meets the land’.

The seagulls’ stories of this wonderful place beside the Solent range from how Ashlett got its name, to how the Brambles were formed, how sailing ships re-victualled at Cowes, how smugglers collected their contraband, how war struck the British coast, how peace allowed seabirds to thrive, how The America’s Cup race has become faster with the use of foils, and much, much more.

So next time you go to the beach, listen hard, you might hear the seagull’s call, “Kyow, kek-kek-kek-kyau. Kyow-ko!” and find you can understand!


‘Sweetwings’ in his dazzle plummage




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wizzy-book-cover-front-b-200ppi-rgbThank you to everyone who came to yesterday’s launch of the children’s book Wizzy the Animal Whisperer

by Anthony Ridgway (author) and Suzan Houching (illustrator)

at The Point, Eastleigh.


To see a video from the book launch with David Suchet reading from the book click on BBC South


Well done to Anthony Ridgway who has published his first book. Wizzy is about a boy and his wheelchair. Anthony has had much support from the local community – as well as actor David Suchet – who was at the launch…

Posted by BBC South Today on Monday, 31 October 2016


You can buy the book Wizzy the Animal Whisperer from www.LittleKnollBookshop.co.uk

#wizzytheanimalwhisperer #littleknollpress #littleknollbookshop

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A *brilliant* new children’s book

WIZZY, the Animal Whisperer

by Anthony Ridgway – author

and Suzan Houching – artist

ISBN: 978-0-9927220-9-8


You can BUY THE BOOK from www.LittleKnollBookshop.co.uk



#wizzytheanimalwhisperer #littleknollpress #littleknollbookshop



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Portrait sketching LIVE!! on radio


Suzan Houching, Gervase Gregory & Alan Langford

take 20 minutes to sketch

Steve Harris 


the BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show


After 20 minutes the sketching stopped for Steve’s interview with Suzan, Gervase and Alan.

11 10cmW 200ppi
Soton Art Gall 3 NF artists sign event front pcd RGB 200ppi

Please come !


Book Signing Event

Southampton City Art Gallery

Saturday July 16th


Front cover 'A Lifetime in Postcards' for Nielsen 22.05.13

A Lifetime in Postcards
by Gervase A Gregory

‘I think the book is wonderful; it perfectly evokes the mood, pace of life, beauty and variety that is The New Forest and The Waterside. So well prepared and presented, it’s like a tour of the Forest. I appreciate the OS map references. It is helping my memory of places like Lepe, which I have been to countless times, along with Hatchet Pond, my mother and father’s favourite place.’

John Grimley, Toronto, Canada.

My Story in Colour

by Suzan Houching

‘Suzan’s book is full of her glorious paintings, each telling a story, in pictures as well as in words. She seems to be one of those rare people, just as at home with a pen as with a paint brush. Her keen observation of life and the funny things that happen made me laugh. I found myself being immediately drawn into a wonderful, sunny world.’

Hannah Gordon in the book’s Foreword

My Story in Colour by New Forest artist Suzan Houching

Welgora vers10 front RGB 8cmW 600ppi

the equestrian art of 
Alan Langford

‘Alan’s book abounds with drawings and paintings of great energy and movement, but not only that, they tell stories, of people, of horses, in some cases of a vanishing lifestyle. With Alan’s work, every picture really does tell a story. The book does the same and what better thing can you say about a book or a painting than that?’

Alison Wilson  Reviewer Society of Equestrian Artists

Missed the BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show

listen again‘ online click HERE
select this section 01:53:40 – 02:01:24

For VIDEO of the artists working on their portraits of Steve go to Radio Solent’s Facebook page 7th July 2016.

Steve Harris 2016

If you would like to have a go at your own portrait of Steve, here is his photo.

See what you can do and email me a jpeg or pdf of your portrait – Jenny@LittleKnollPress.co.uk

The best will join the artists’ work for display at the Southampton Art Gallery book signing event.

How’s that? You’ll be able to say you have work hung in the city’s gallery!!

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01a 8cmW 200ppi Steve Harris portrait by Alan L 10cmH 200ppi Radio Solent 07.07.16 b
03 10cmW 200ppi Steve Harris portrait by Gervase G 10cmW 200ppi Radio Solent 07.07.16
Suzan's pic 10cmW 200ppi 02 8 mins in 10cmW 200ppi


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