THE author of one of Scotland’s best-loved series of children’s books returned to the Borders last week to launch a new campaign to encourage reading at a Galashiels school.

Alan Windram visited Burgh Primary for a special show with his new book, One Button Benny and the Dinosaur Dilemma, being performed, for the first time ever, to pupils at the school he attended in the 1980s.

The ‘One Button Benny’ series has proved a massive hit and follows the adventures of a robot as he carves out his place in the world. The books are illustrated by Chloe Holwill-Hunter, of Lauder, deepening its Borders roots.

Alan helped launch the ‘Book for Burgh’ campaign which aims to provide more than 300 new books for the school library from a list complied by staff and pupils with the aim of encouraging children and their families to read more.

This will include books with Polish and Turkish translation to reflect the diversity of languages spoken in the school community.

Alan kicked off the campaign by donating a series of illustrated stories published by his Little Door Books company.

He is the latest writer to visit the school this year, with one of the UK’s leading football authors Daniel Gray dropping in in March and Scots language performer Laura Green visiting on Burns Day.

Alan Windram said: "It is an absolute joy for me to return to the Burgh and launch this new Benny book. I have such fond memories of the school, and one of the teachers at the time, Mrs Gray, was extremely influential in encouraging my creativity.

“I often got easily distracted in the classroom and my grades were not fantastic, but I had a vivid imagination, which she encouraged me to channel into art and story writing. It's down to her and so many other fantastic teachers and my parents that I am back here today sharing Benny's fantastic new adventure with the whole school."

Dave Scott, from Burgh Parent Teacher Council, said: "It’s amazing to have Alan back at the Burgh to launch both his wonderful book and our new campaign. The ability to read and be able to freely access books is amongst the most precious gifts we can offer children and we are hoping that through a 'Book for Burgh’ we can revitalise our school library.

“We felt it was also important to ask the children what they enjoyed reading and that it’s not just adults choosing what goes on the list. We’ve already had a lot of pledges of support from past pupils and local businesses and hopefully two to three hundred new books will make their way onto our library shelves before the end of term.

“Pretty much every child in our school has read a ‘One Button Benny’ story and as well as encouraging them to read we also want this campaign to highlight that children from their town, their school can go on to become writers.

“Alan was supported by family and teachers and through being able to access library books his love of reading was nurtured, helping him to become a writer. We want every child at our school to know they have the gifts to do what they want in life and meeting people like Alan helps reinforce this.”