Poetry and puppets, stories and dressing-up were order of the day for World Book Day at Derwen College, near Oswestry.

Local author Jan Hedger visited the specialist further education college in Gobowen to share her love of puppets and poetry for the international celebration of published words and pictures on 7th March.

Jan, along with fellow book-lover Pauline Faulkner, entertained and informed students at the college for young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. The pair ran two workshops entitled ‘Poetry, Puppets and Books’.

Students were introduced to Jan’s hand puppets, and to her selection of illustrated poetry books which she has collected over the years. Students were particularly engaged by poems with themes focusing on caring for animals and the natural world.

The college also ran a draw a book cover competition and encouraged staff and students to dress up as their favourite literary characters.

Jan explained: “My puppets and poetry performances are about interaction and fun; light poetry but with a moral message, with each hand puppet having its own special written poem.  Derwen students enjoyed looking through the books and illustrations themselves. A lot of the poems are very old, but are freshly enjoyed today by new generations.”

“I feel that World Book Day is of vital importance in bringing people of all ages and cultures together, embracing the joy, depth and knowledge books can bring; as they have done throughout the ages, since the concept of print first evolved.”

Jan has worked with Derwen College previously as committee member for Oswestry’s Wilfred Owen Festival for which Derwen College students wrote a commemorative poem. The poem is displayed on the life-sized bronze Wilfred Owen statue in Cae Glas Park, Oswestry.