Sunday Remembrance Service Book Presentation

Winners of Seven Stories’ World War One competition to dedicate a poignant new book by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey were presented this weekend with their books as part of Remembrance Sunday services.

Earlier this year, Seven Stories ran a competition to commemorate personal heroes from World War I with author Hilary Robinson and illustrator Martin Impey.  Schools from across the country were invited to research their family and school history to uncover one of the many unsung heroes of the First World War for a chance to dedicate Hilary and Martin’s moving book The Christmas Truce.  Two winners were chosen by Seven Stories and were presented with their books as part of events to commemorate The Great War.

Illustrator Martin Impey went to 5 year old Lewie's school in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire to present him with his dedicated book and a unique illustration whilst author Hilary Robinson attended a special Remembrance Sunday service at St Mary's Church in South Milford, Leeds where winner Patrick Watson (11) was presented his book by Flight Lieutenant Steve Watson from 72 Squadron, RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Hannah Lambert at Seven Stories said about the competition:

“We were delighted with the level of response and calibre of entries for this unique competition.  It was a difficult decision to choose the winners, but Patrick and Lewie are each worthy winners, both in terms of what they have found out about their WW1 ancestors and the efforts they have gone to in re-telling their stories.”

Patrick Watson (aged 11) told of his brave Great-Grandfather “Jimmy”, who lied about his age in order to join the Royal Flying Corp and become a bomber pilot.   He was shot down and narrowly escaped being captured by playing dead.  He went on to survive both World Wars and died at the age of 92 in 1991. Seven Stories were very impressed with Patrick’s entry and praised Patrick for his detailed research, finding out all about his great grandfather through talking to his own Grandad and family. 

Lewie Higgs (aged 5½) presented his entry as a scroll complete with “aged” tea-stained pages.  In it he wrote how proud he was of his Great Great Grandfather, Thomas Higgs, who as part of the Royal Army Medical Corp treated injured soldiers on the frontline.   Seven Stories were again impressed that Lewie recognised the importance of remembrance; he said “learning about the 5th generation of my family is important and hope it continues on. I am very proud.”

The Christmas Truce (Strauss House Productions) marries beautifully emotive poetry with stunning illustrations to highlight a truly extraordinary glimmer of peace and humanity during an otherwise brutal war.  Hilary and Martin weave poetry and illustration to reveal the poignant underlying story of humanity which has been given fresh contemporary relevance through its dedications from a generation of children increasingly removed from the events of 1914-18.

Author Hilary Robinson said that so much was being done to include older children in commemoration events, but she and Martin wanted to ensure that young children had their opportunity too to bear witness.  She said “The Christmas Truce was a remarkable moment in history.  On Christmas Eve German soldiers started singing Stille Nacht across No Man’s Land and the British responded with Silent Night.  The result was a remarkable show of friendship and humanity amidst the tragedy of war. ” 

Illustrator Martin Impey said, “Amidst the fear and uncertainty, the soldiers realised that their foe were much as they were - just ordinary men in an extraordinary place.  For a short time, they defied the concerns of their seniors and swapped gifts and prayed and played together.  The Christmas Truce typified the human spirit at a time of unbelievable hardship and it is an honour to be playing a part, however small, in the remembrance of that.”

Copies of The Christmas Truce are available to buy from Seven Stories Bookshop and online.

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Media Contact

For images, quotes or interviews please contact:

Hannah Lambert, Marketing and Communications Assistant 

Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. NE1 2PQ.

T: 0845 271 0777 ext. 223


Notes to Editor:

Seven Stories – the Centre for Children’s Books.

Seven Stories is the first gallery and archive in the UK that celebrates the wonderful world of children’s books. We create a vibrant event and exhibition programme to cater for book lovers of all ages. Find Seven Stories tucked under Byker Bridge not far from Newcastle’s bustling Quayside.

Hilary Robinson is an award winning radio producer, broadcaster and the author of over 40 picture books including the bestselling Mixed Up Fairy Tales (Hodder). She produced Private Peaceful for BBC Radio 2 narrated by Robson Green. She lives and works in London and York.

Martin Impey studied graphic design with distinction and alongside illustration has worked in design, film, advertising and marketing.  Passionate about military history he illustrated War Horse for OUP.

For enquiries about the competition and Seven Stories please contact Hannah Lambert.

Tel: 0845 2710777 ext 223 Email:

For enquiries about The Christmas Truce, including review copies and images please contact Nicky Stonehill or Jessica Ward at StonehillSalt PR.

Tel: 01620 829800  Email: or