Published: 15:00, 07 January 2016
A 10-year-old boy made a promise to his teacher that if he ever had a book published he’d dedicate it to her.
Twenty years on, Richard Dodd has done just that but is struggling to track down the teacher who inspired him to write.
Mr Dodd, 30, from Maidstone, went to Luton Junior School in Chatham, and was taught by Miss Devonshire, later known as Mrs Raisbeck.
He hasn’t seen her since his school days, but desperately wants to keep his promise.
Mr Dodd, who previously worked at the Trevor Gibbens unit in Maidstone, was inspired to write Fluffy Hugs after seeing a picture of a penguin created by his close friend Chris Norman.
He said: “I instantly wanted to write about a magic penguin. There’s a huge gap in the market for a decent Christmas story. I’ve known Chris since 1997. He was best man at my wedding. He is a great artist and did all the artwork.
“He has created loads of other characters which I hope to turn into books too. The father-of-one, of Tattershall Road, first found his love for writing in Year 6 when Mrs Raisbeck asked them to create a story.
He said: “I put a lot of time into mine, but I rushed the end and just finished it with it all being a dream. My teacher slated me for it. She said she really believed I could do better and believed in me.
“She said she knew I would publish a book one day and said you better dedicate it to me.”
Mr Dodd, who starts training as a primary school teacher next year, has tried searching for Mrs Raisbeck on the internet, through social media and has contacted his former school.
He said: “I’ve tried everything I can think of. She doesn’t teach at the school anymore and the staff don’t remember her as they are all fairly new.
“I’m really hoping she’ll see my book or hear about it and I can track her down. It would be great to see her again.”
Do you know Mrs Raisbeck? Contact the KM on 01622 695666 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr Dodd’s book is available to buy on Amazon. More on Chris Norman at www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/chris_norman.