Wordsmiths combine their talents to help the Hayling lifeboat

TAKE eight women with bags of life experience, creative flair, a love of writing, and plenty of strong coffee – and you have the makings of a great book.

The women, all from Hayling Island and aged from 63 to 89, came together to produce a thought-provoking anthology of 28 stories.

A group of eight women from Hayling Island have come together to write a book for charity. (left to right), Val Anderson, Sylvia Fitz, Pauline Hunt, Katie Stevens, Maggi Bridgman, Daphne Vandy, with sitting Helen West, and Frank Pearce who funded the project with organiser, Lesley Drew. Pictuire: Ian Hargreaves  (132741-1)

A group of eight women from Hayling Island have come together to write a book for charity. (left to right), Val Anderson, Sylvia Fitz, Pauline Hunt, Katie Stevens, Maggi Bridgman, Daphne Vandy, with sitting Helen West, and Frank Pearce who funded the project with organiser, Lesley Drew. Pictuire: Ian Hargreaves (132741-1)

They all meet every month in their own writers’ circle and wanted to produce a book for charity.

But it has not been a walk in the park. The women have scrimped and saved to get their book published – even standing out in drizzly weather at a table-top sale to raise funds.

However, their dream became a reality when Hayling councillor Frank Pearce, donated £600 from his county council budget to help get the book printed. It was launched yesterday at Hayling Island Golf Club.

Daphne Vandy, 89, wrote a moving memoir about fostering and then adopting a half-Nigerian baby, called Lisa, in 1959.

Her piece talks about the racism she endured in the 60s and Daphne’s proudest moment when Lisa was presented with her Masters degree at the Albert Hall, in London.

Regarding seeing her work in print for the first time, Daphne said: ‘It’s quite exciting really – I never thought it would happen. I have loved it. I have enjoyed the companionship.’

Val Anderson, 77, a lifelong Pompey fan, takes a sideways look at life with her off-the-wall pieces, including her hilarious account of getting stuck in the bath one day.

The book will raise funds for Hayling RNLI.

Cllr Pearce said: ‘I was interested immediately because in my younger days I was a crew member of the Hayling lifeboat. The book looks really good.’

Lesley Drew, 70, a freelance journalist who writes about a Second World War bombing, said: ‘We had those who said to us: “Lovely idea, but it won’t work”. The ladies were cross and it got them indignant. It made us go for it.’

She added: ‘If there’s a charity that relates to Hayling, it has to be our lifeboat station. We all admire them for the courage required to do their wonderful charitable work.’

Pieces From Eight, priced at £4.95, is available at The Hayling Island Bookshop, in Mengham, or by calling Leslie on (023) 9246 9990.