Thu, Jun 30, 2022 9:20 AM

Hedgehog tale a story with heart


Paula Hulburt

A Blenheim writer hopes a hedgehog called Benjamin will help raise money for struggling children overseas.

Bridgette Knox has published a new book which she hopes will help buy vital supplies for youngsters living in a remote village in the Solomon Islands.

Benjamin’s Aquarium Adventure tells the tale of a young hedgehog and his search for a friend.

Fifty percent of all proceeds raised will be donated to a new trust, The One Family Foundation, which Bridgette has set up to help the village of Mall’u.

The Trust, which will help other islands in the Pacific with medical, education and economic development, is in the process of appointing trustees.

For the well-known photographer and forestry company co- owner, the cause is one close to her heart.

“Mall’u is the village where my husband grew up and when I was there, I just knew I wanted to do something to help.”

While the colorfully illustrated book is her first published work, Bridgette has always been a keen writer, she says.

“I’ve told stories all my life. I made up bedtime stories for my two girls, and poetry. I was in drama club and the choir.

“My imagination is particularly vivid, it’s quite wild and wacky. I had the story [of Benjamin] in my head and wrote it in just a few hours.”

Illustrated by Nicci Neilson, the story tells of Benjamin’s search for a friend.

The little hedgehog has lost his dad and feels lost and alone, says Bridget.

“It’s a happy ending for Benjamin in the end.”

Growing up in Seddon, Bridgette returned to live in Marlborough 14 years ago. She says living in the region has made her grateful for what she has.

Benjamin’s Aquarium Adventure tells the tale of a young hedgehog and his search for a friend.

Life is not so easy for those in Malaita, she says, especially the children.

She hopes to use money from the sale of her book to buy medical and educational supplies for the village.

“I can’t forget what I saw there, I can’t forget. It’s probably the biggest reality check I’d had in all my years of being on the planet.

“We’ve become desensitized as a society and because I’ve always had a doctor to go to and an education, I thought it was my God given right.

“It’s not until you are in a situation like that, that reality sets in.”

Education is not free in the Solomon Islands and many children walk hours each day to get to school.

Their parents work hard to pay for an education, Bridgette says.

“I saw children working by torch light and their families saving up for a battery to run lights from so the children can do their homework.

“This would cost around $200 dollars NZ. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference.”

Benjamin’s Aquarium Adventure will be launched later this year. For further details, contact Bridgette via Readers can also to order an e-copy of the book or a hard copy too.

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