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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall hosts reception to celebrate the UK’s top 10 Literacy Heroes

3 Dec 2013

The National Literacy Trust announced the names of the UK’s top 10 Literacy Heroes in a VIP celebratory reception at Clarence House today, hosted by its Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and attended by a star-studded cast of literary luminaries.

The 10 Literacy Heroes were chosen from hundreds of public nominations by a panel of celebrity judges: bestselling authors Joanna Trollope, Cressida Cowell and Dorothy Koomson, entrepreneur Levi Roots, actor, comedian and writer Miles Jupp, and columnist Lucy Mangan. Other attendees included Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman and bestselling authors Lauren Child, Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz and Axel Sheffler. 

The UK’s top 10 Literacy Heroes are all inspiring individuals who have either made a significant impact on the reading skills of others or overcome problems to succeed themselves. They were named as:

  • Jodie Evans, an Oxfordshire community college pupil who has overcome literacy issues to become a school library champion
  • Ruth Gasson, a youth librarian who having been excluded from school herself went on to create opportunities for NEETs and disadvantaged young people to improve their literacy.
  • Lyn Hopson, a school librarian from Doncaster who runs innovative schemes to promote a love of reading among local young people
  • Velda Jackson, a Higher Learning Teacher Assistant and tireless supporter of young children’s literacy from Leeds
  • Richard O'Neill, a Romany gypsy author and storyteller who works in schools to inspire and improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils
  • JK Rowling, a bestselling author who has turned a new generation of children into avid readers
  • Caroline Thain, an inspiring English teacher at an academy in Aberdeen
  • Henry Winkler, ‘The Fonz’ and children’s author who has dyslexia and has raised the profile and accessibility of reading to thousands of school children with learning challenges
  • Lisa Yong Hui Li, a secondary school pupil who has made amazing achievements with English as her second language
  • A prisoner from HMP The Mount who is involved with the Storybook Dads project

In a message to the National Literacy Trust, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall says:

“As Patron of the National Literacy Trust, I am delighted to honour these 10 Literacy Heroes, all of whom have shown outstanding commitment to inspiring literacy in others, or who have made truly significant achievements themselves.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust says:

“Literacy Heroes and reading role models have never been more important at a time when our research shows that children’s reading performance is declining, children are reading less and are holding more negative attitudes towards reading. The National Literacy Trust is delighted to celebrate our 20th anniversary by honouring the UK’s top 10 Literacy Heroes who have made inspiring and significant strides to improve their own literacy or create positive opportunities for others.”

To round off the charity’s 20th year of working to improve literacy in the UK, the National Literacy Trust has launched a fundraising campaign, ‘Give the gift of reading’. Supporters who donate to the charity via this campaign will bring the joy of reading to a young person’s life, who wouldn’t normally receive a book at Christmas.

Find out how to give the gift of reading

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Tags: Adults, Children, Families, Libraries, Schools & teaching

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The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.