The Voice caught up with local author Alison Page last month to find out how things have been going over the last year while life has slowed during the pandemic. Before retiring to live on the Isle of Arran, Alison worked in the civil service for many years, and it was during her days of ‘ferry-louping’ with her wee Westie, that the idea to write stories for children arose.
With book readings, school visits and big events all cancelled over the last year, the outlook for the creator of the Corrie’s Capers book series could have been a pretty pessimistic one. Yet despite the lockdown, the exciting news for Alison is that book sales have continued to go well online and she has now raised £10,000 all of which she has donated to the charity Mary’s Meals. On reaching this milestone, Alison is keen to acknowledge the support she has received and to particularly thank all the people and businesses in Arran who have helped her to get here.
The Corrie’s Capers books – The Westie Fest, The Tattoo Toorie, and Corrie’s Curling Capers – are children’s picture books that feature Corrie, a wee Westie and her adventures on the Isle of Arran and elsewhere around Scotland. Alison explains that when she set out to write The Westie Fest in 2018, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to cover the costs of writing and producing a book, let alone raise money on top of that to donate to charity. She had to tell her first illustrator that while she would make sure she would pay her costs, she couldn’t be certain the book would make it to print. However the costs were covered and Alison has gone on to write two more books in the series, and reach this amazing achievement for a charity that is close to her heart.
Mary’s Meals is a charity which provides meals to children in 19 countries across the world. Recognising the need for both food and education, they typically take meals into schools in communities so that children who otherwise may not get regular meals or schooling can access both. During the pandemic, while schools have been closed they adapted the model to ensure children did not go without, and distributed food for children to eat at home. They have now reached 1.8 million children this way.
Alison loves the ethos of the charity and says she knows that when she is donating, the money goes to the children who really need it and not on large salaries or high administrative costs of the charity. 93p in each £1 goes to feeding children and it costs just £15.90 to feed a child for a whole school year. The combination of food and education is the key to providing hope and the possibility of change in people’s lives.
The Arran Connection
Alison puts the success of the Corrie’s Capers series down to the Arran connection, and there are many local historical references in the books. Real events from Arran history are interweaved in Corrie’s adventures. In the most recent book, Corrie’s Curling Capers, the Caledonia brig is pictured, one of the boats which took people from Scotland to Montreal during the Clearances, while the story itself is based on the curling teams that actually played in Arran in the 1880s. Teams from Brodick and Lamlash competed for the Challenge Medal, also featured in the book, and Alison told the Voice that through her research she found out that the Brodick curling pond was where the bowling green and Library are today!
Alison would like to say a big thank you to everyone on Arran who has played a part in this journey, which Alison acknowledges wouldn’t have happened without their support. She says, “I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people” for which she is incredibly grateful. It was great to meet up with you again Alison and best of luck with the next £10,000!
If readers would like to buy a book please see the Corrie’s Capers website shop . You can also buy the books from the Voice for Arran website , and at several outlets around the island. Look out for copies on the Waverly this summer too!