Walking Netball and Landy Books

Aug 2, 2018

Sammy Kemmish

Our busy July meeting began with a short presentation about walking netball by Sammy Kemmish, who is the Somerset Development Officer for England Netball. Several of our members are keen to try this new activity and Sammy came along to provide information and encouragement.

With England now ranking at No.2 in the world, having beaten Australia to the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, several forms of the traditional game are now promoted. Walking Netball is one where the rules are adapted and play slowed down so that players of all ages and abilities can take part with confidence and enjoyment.

Following the initial taster session, regular games are planned which will be non- progressive, each running on the same format of gentle warm-up, fun skill practice, then a game followed by stretch and cool down and, most importantly, a post-session coffee and chat. There has been a lot of interest from members so we look forward to some well-attended sessions.

Veronica Lamond

Members then enjoyed a most entertaining and enjoyable talk from Veronica Lamond, writer and illustrator of the Landy books for children.

Veronica’s early career involved education and therapy work with children and then autistic adults followed by a period as a botanical illustrator. Personal misfortunes saw a career change into office management and her dream of becoming a children’s illustrator was shelved for a while until, she says, having reached middle age, her mother ‘prodded her to get on with it’.

Whilst still working full time, she turned her sitting room into a studio and began, painting in her lunch hour and working into the night. She admits that at first she was neither a Land Rover owner nor enthusiast but following a friend’s suggestion and drawing on her own nostalgic memories of the vehicles in South Africa, where she grew up, the Landy books were born.

A research trip to the local garage yielded the perfect model, a 1956 series 1 Land Rover complete with an enthusiastic and helpful owner. Veronica was keen to engage reluctant readers with her books, especially boys, so her daughter’s boyfriends became the active models for Jack and Dan, two of the main human characters in the books, who are always helping people out in their friendly community and can turn their hands to anything.

Veronica is careful to make her illustrations technically accurate to satisfy adult readers, 30,000 books having been sold to adult collectors. Fewer words in the early books give space to embellish the story and trigger conversations around the text when reading with children. This format has helped dyslexic children to read the books with confidence.

Each story begins with images rather than words which Veronica transfers to a storyboard and edits all the time. The hand-drawn illustrations are created in watercolours and wax crayons and have a warmth to them which is lacking in most children’s books. The number of pages and layout are then decided.

Initially, Veronica found it difficult to find a publisher, so on her daughter’s suggestion, found a printer in Cornwall and published it herself. The books are printed under licence from Jaguar Land Rover and they have been most supportive of her work, even arranging a private visit to the factory for Landy and friends before the final Defender rolled off the production line in 2016.

Veronica’s customers are diverse, ranging from a ninety-two-year-old lady who bought the whole set for herself to Hong Kong businessmen and Prince Charles. She has also produced a teaching resource pack and written songs, music and produced a YouTube animation to accompany the books.

After thanking Veronica for a wonderful talk it was back to club business. Members were urged to make jam and chutney to sell at the Wellington Flower Show and to bring it to next month’s meeting for labelling. It was hoped that members would have a try at entering some of the many classes on offer at the show. The first Petanque session had been a great success and we have entered a team into the County WI skittles competition.

Next month’s meeting will be 7pm on 16 August at the Scout Hall in Wellington, Somerset not our usual venue at the Beambridge Inn. Gareth Wasp, auctioneer, valuer and of ‘Flog It’ fame will entertain us.

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