East Sussex father and daughter combine for lockdown children's book

An East Sussex father and daughter have combined for a lockdown book.

By Phil Hewitt
Friday, 22nd January 2021, 9:00 am
Tim Dowsett from Hailsham, supported by illustrations created by his daughter Sarah from Bexhill
Tim Dowsett from Hailsham, supported by illustrations created by his daughter Sarah from Bexhill

It has been written by Tim Dowsett from Hailsham, supported by illustrations created by his daughter Sarah from Bexhill.

35 years ago Tim, father of twins Sarah and David, told them a story at bedtime and they asked to hear it over and over again. 35 years later, the story has been written down.

Tim explained: “The book which is entitled Clippety Clop – The Helpful Slippers is a children’s story and is a night-time adventure in which a pair of slippers journey around the Big Ones’ house whilst everyone is asleep.

“On their adventure, they meet lots of toys who need help. A missing wheel, a lost key and only one glass eye lead the slippers on a mission they won’t forget.

“Will they be back under the bed by sunrise?

“The ability to recall the story after such a long period of time is partly inspired by the famous author Rudyard Kipling. Kipling had a daughter, Josephine, who, when she was five years old, was entranced by bedtime stories that Kipling would make up in his head and read to her.

“Stories like How the Elephant got his Trunk or How the Camel got his Hump would delight her and she would ask him to tell them over and over again.

“When Kipling returned from his travels around the world, Josephine would always ask for the stories again and told him to read them ‘just so’.

“In other words, she wanted them without a word being changed.

“This was often very difficult for Kipling but when he stumbled over a word Josephine would always correct him.

“When she died at the age of seven from pneumonia, Kipling wrote down many of the stories in her memory and entitled them The Just So Stories.

“So after 35 years the story of the Helpful Slippers has been remembered, written down and been illustrated with lovely pictures which bring the story to life.

“Each of the illustrations has a small mouse hidden in the picture for the children to find.

“The book is aimed at children in the age range four to eight.”

Tim is a former local government officer who took early retirement in 1994. He was then recruited to be part of the team that bid for and won a local East Sussex radio franchise and set up Sovereign FM. He was made a board member and remained so until the radio station was taken over (now MORE Radio).

He then set up Dowsett Associates, a planning and architectural advisory service until he retired when the business was taken over by his son David Dowsett (Sarah’s twin). Tim lives in retirement with his wife Elizabeth in London Road, Hailsham. Sarah Welch lives in Little Common, Bexhill with her husband Ben and their two children Finlay and Penny and has maintained her love of art and design.

“She was delighted to illustrate the book and then read the story to her two young children.

Tim added: “There is no doubt that this story would not have been put into print if it had not been for the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is amazing how many hours needs to go into writing, illustrating and then arranging publication of a book”

The book which is entitled Clippety Clop – The Helpful Slippers is printed and published by Amazon.