For years, Ken Frodsham has been keeping Whaley Bridge bright and beautiful throughout the summer months. He and his wife Fran (Francesca) hold the contract for putting up the hanging baskets that enliven the town centre. You can see them very early on summer mornings, watering the plants.
Now, at the age of 71, Ken has branched out into writing. His first book is The Mobile Phone of Jeremy Bone. It’s in verse, which Ken thinks is perfect for reading aloud: an adult to children or seven-plus kids reading to younger siblings.
(Just think back to your childhood and hearing those Rupert Bear stories!)
Ken, who lives in Stockport, has already done a number of public readings. On World Book Day, he read to the entire school at Whaley Bridge Primary. He has read to children in a restaurant at the Trafford Centre. And he has another date in the Mechanics’ Institute in Whaley from 2-3pm on Saturday 5 April. Admission is free. Children should be six plus to enjoy the reading best. Ken will have copies of the book for sale.
The book story has some modern twists. Jeremy Bone is a retired schoolmaster, who dislikes modern technology. By mistake, he receives a mobile phone in the post. Schoolboy Roger Bannett, who has learning difficulties, has an hour’s tuition with Mr Bone each week, in exchange for an apple pie made by his mum. When Mr Bone activates the phone, he finds it has mystical powers. This starts an adventure as teacher and pupil try to return the phone to its rightful owner.
Ken says: “It is a story for young people, regardless of age. Delivered in poetic form, it is ideal for reading aloud to or by children.”
Ken, son of limestone quarry worker was born in Harpur Hill, during World War II. He was ‘not very successful’ and failed his grammar school entrance exam. That meant he went to Kents Bank secondary modern school (now a library) ‘intended for those not so academically gifted’.
But Ken, in his own word, ‘excelled’ at school dramatic productions. He also became head prefect. In the fourth year, he was taught maths by the deputy head, who inspired him. The headmaster persuaded Ken’s dad to allow him to spend an extra year at school, until the age 16. He passed his exams and went on to be a successful primary school teacher. At 35 he joined the education authority team of advisers in Stockport.