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Signed Roald Dahl book pride of place at new Grove Park Primary library in Sittingbourne

By Poppy Jeffery

A book found by a pupil that appears to have been signed by Roald Dahl became the star attraction at the reopening of a school’s library.

The copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, complete with a message from the author, was spotted on a classroom bookshelf at Grove Park Primary by an eagle-eyed boy a few months ago.

It has remained under lock and key ever since as copies can sell for hundreds of pounds.

From left, Mrs Wells, Library Coordinator, John Kirk, Storyteller and Miss Litton. Head Teacher and Daisy, nine, cutting the ribbon with other pupils at the official opening of the newly refurbished Grove Park Primary School's library.
From left, Mrs Wells, Library Coordinator, John Kirk, Storyteller and Miss Litton. Head Teacher and Daisy, nine, cutting the ribbon with other pupils at the official opening of the newly refurbished Grove Park Primary School's library.

The book has been framed and was unveiled in pride of place after the library at the Hilton Drive school had a facelift costing more than £2,000.

Library co-ordinator Beth Wells said: “The books on the class shelves are there for children for quiet reading and have been donated over time, so this one must have been there for years.

“When it was shown to me I just said ‘Oh, isn’t that lovely’ thinking it had been signed by a grandmother or someone and it didn’t really click.

Daisy, nine holds up a signed copy of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
Daisy, nine holds up a signed copy of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

“But when I looked closer I just thought ‘Oh my goodness, that says Love Roald Dahl’.”

The school has done some research and staff think the signature is genuine, but plan to take it to a specialist to find out more.

It now hangs in the library, where there are more than 1,500 new books, new furniture and a special storytelling chair.

Charlotte and Ellice, both nine and librarians, stand in front of the mural, painted by Dean Tweedy
Charlotte and Ellice, both nine and librarians, stand in front of the mural, painted by Dean Tweedy

Dean Tweedy, of Marvellous Murals, also painted a forest scene for the pupils to enjoy.

Miss Wells added: “Before now the library was non-existent. We never had a club and the books were mainly used by teachers for resources.

“It’s taken about a year but it’s been lovely and we’re so pleased with it now. It’s been a lot of effort, time and money.”

John Kirk, Storyteller with pupils, Tommy, 10 and Scarlett, eight
John Kirk, Storyteller with pupils, Tommy, 10 and Scarlett, eight

Books to fill the new shelves have been donated by well-wishers, parents and the Home School Association.

The library was formally opened to the children on Tuesday, May 9, and storyteller John Kirk came to entertain pupils, reciting stories from memory.

“Now children can take books home to read and we hope this will bring back the enjoyment of books,” Miss Wells added.

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