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Early Christmas Present for Auchterarder Pupils – Winners of the ScottishPower Story Swap Shop


Lucky pupils at the Community School of Auchterarder have been treated to an exclusive reading by ‘Mr Gum’ author Andy Stanton, after winning a national reading challenge.

Over 250 youngsters from primaries one to seven gathered in the local church hall on Tuesday 1st December to listen to the leading children’s author tell stories and read from his popular Mr Gum books.

The visit came after the school beat off competition across the country to win the ScottishPower Story Swap Shop, which encouraged children to recycle their old books by trading them with their classmates whilst raising money for environmental projects.

The competition was organised by ScottishPower, leading environmental charity Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

ScottishPower Group Sponsorships Manager, Heather McDonald, who also attended the author visit, said: “It was brilliant to see so many smiling faces in Auchterarder. Andy was fantastic with the pupils and really brought his stories to life. We’d like to congratulate the Community School of Auchterarder once again for raising money for a good cause and recycling their favourite books to help the environment.

“We hope that the youngsters, and indeed teachers, who set up a swap shop of their own, will continue their green efforts by reusing books. Andy’s visit on Tuesday really proved that picking up a book can be just as, if not more exciting than playing computers – and it’s educational too!”

The Community School of Auchterarder raised over £120 and exchanged more than 250 books during the initiative, which took place towards the end of the summer term. The school was randomly selected to win the competition, with the prize being the exclusive author visit.

Andy, who is well known for writing the Mr Gum series, including titles such as ‘You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum!’, ‘Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire’ and more recently, ‘What's for Dinner, Mr Gum?’.

The Community School of Auchterarder’s Head teacher Barbara Boyd, said: “We were delighted to welcome Andy Stanton to Auchterarder and it was an absolute pleasure for the pupils to hear him tell jokes and read from You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum and Mr Gum and the Goblins. The pupils had a brilliant day – it really was an early Christmas present for them!

“The ScottishPower Story Swap Shop was a fantastic project for the children to get involved in and they are over the moon to have won. Both pupils and teachers try to be as green as possible in the school and we look forward to continuing our quest to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Children took part from a number of schools across the country and exchanged over 600 books with their classmates, raising over £300. Pupils donated 50p for each novel traded and funds were donated to Friends of the Earth Scotland, which works to promote energy saving and waste reduction.

Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “We would like to thank pupils at the Community School of Auchterarder for helping our fight against climate change and raising money for a significant cause. By recycling their favourite books and reading them instead of watching televisions and playing computer games, they are helping the planet, which is so important to Friends of the Earth Scotland.”

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, which ScottishPower has sponsored for five years, attracted record numbers to the event which took place in August in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square.

Sara Grady, Children & Education Programme Director at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “We are so pleased that the pupils of the Community School of Auchterarder enjoyed their day with Andy Stanton. He is an inspirational children’s author and we are delighted that he was able to come to Auchterarder to speak to the pupils. We hope that the youngsters continue their passion for reading, discovering new authors along the way.”

For background on ScottishPower log onto and more details about Friends of the Earth Scotland can be found at Information on the Edinburgh International Book Festival can be found at