Harpenden woman’s book relaunched for Starlight Foundation

FOR years Audrey Gibson has thrown herself into fundraising for the Starlight Children’s Foundation but this week has been particularly busy.

For not only is Audrey, 83, of Berkeley Court, Harpenden, launching a reprint of her book for children in aid of the charity but yesterday evening she appeared on a TV series about Starlight on Channel 5.

Audrey has been a dedicated fundraiser for Starlight for 14 years since her grandson Johnny Cotton died of a brain tumour at the age of 11.

Starlight is a children’s foundation which grants wishes for children with serious and terminal illnesses and Johnny had been due to go on a trip to Disneyland on the day of his funeral.

Since then Audrey has raised thousands of pounds for Starlight from events such as fairs, talks, raffles and musical evenings. She said: “Most of my fundraising is around Harpenden and giving talks to schools and ladies clubs.”

When Johnny died, Audrey wrote a book for children called Fun Stories for Boys and Girls designed to appeal to four to 10 year olds and dedicated to her grandson.

It is a mixture of stories including tales of toys who have adventures at night and a naughty pig and was illustrated by her friend Rita Woodward who lives in Redbourn.

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Recently Audrey approached the What’s On book publishers about relaunching it which they happily took on board and at 10am this morning (Thursday) at Oui fashion shop in Bowers Parade, Harpenden, she will be signing copies of it.

It includes a reference to a Harpenden boy, Adam Sharp, who was sponsored by Starlight to spend a day with the band McFly.

When the charity was approached about the Channel 5 series which is entitled Starlight: For The Children, they were asked for the name of a fundraiser who would be prepared to talk about her work.

Audrey’s was the name put forward – and by her own admission, she loved every minute of the filming which took place on a day when she was holding a coffee morning.

She was also interviewed about Johnny and taken to his grave in Welwyn Garden City as well as being filmed at the Old Bell where, as she was waiting outside with her collection bin to be filmed, someone gave her some money for Starlight which was an addled bonus.

Starlight: For The Children is to mark the charity’s 25th anniversary and features a mix of celebrities and members of the public including its employees doing all manner of good deeds in aid of the youngsters they support.