Secret book trail brings a ‘ray of sunshine’ during dark days of lockdown

Cat Cowie and her son Benjamin found the book in Melton Playing Fields. Picture: MARTA PARKER

Cat Cowie and her son Benjamin found the book in Melton Playing Fields. Picture: MARTA PARKER - Credit: Archant

The owner of a healthcare practice in Suffolk has decided to bring a “ray of sunshine” into people’s day by carefully hiding a trail of books for children to find during their exercise of the day.

Joanna Rowles with her children Ollie, seven, and Daisy, ten, while out on their daily walk. Picture

Joanna Rowles with her children Ollie, seven, and Daisy, ten, while out on their daily walk. Picture: JOANNA ROWLES - Credit: Archant

The Melton Podiatry Practice closed its doors on Thursday March 27 after advice from their governing body, the College of Podiatry, and now owner Joanna Rowles has come up with a way to reach her community during lockdown.

The booklover runs the practice with her partner David whom she has two children with, Daisy, ten, and Ollie, seven.

“We had a surprise planned for later in the summer for the local community, but then coronavirus turned our world upside down,” she explained.

“Each day on our family exercise walk around the village we will be leaving book parcels on the way.

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“They have been stored and packed in the cleanest way possible prior to the coronavirus outbreak.”

The mother-of-two had bought the remained stock of a closing book store earlier in the year and is now hoping they will help lift the spirits of the Melton community during the isolation period.

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“If you find one in the village we hope it brings you a little ray of sunshine at a dark and worrying time,” she added.

Joanna Rowles is hiding books for people to find around Melton and leaves a note inside to explain.

Joanna Rowles is hiding books for people to find around Melton and leaves a note inside to explain. Picture: CAT COWIE - Credit: Archant

To reassure the community, the podiatrist added that she packed all of the brand new parcels with newly washed hands and latex gloves.

On Saturday, March 28, Cat Cowie and her husband were out walking at Melton Playing Fields with their son and daughter when they found one of the hidden books.

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Mrs Cowie said: “My son Benjamin found a parcel addressed to ‘A child finder’ and inside was a beautiful book of traditional tales left by Joanna Rowles and family.”

Benjamin Cowie, 2, found his first book out with his mother Cat. Picture: CAT COWIE

Benjamin Cowie, 2, found his first book out with his mother Cat. Picture: CAT COWIE - Credit: Archant

The two-year-old’s mother took to social media to thank the practice, saying: “Our little boy found your kind gift left at Melton Playing Fields today.

“He loves books and can’t wait for us to read it to him before bed. A lovely gesture in these uncertain times and we promise to pay it forward.”

Mrs Rowles added that she hopes people post photographs of them with the books on the practice’s Facebook page and said: “We know some of our elderly patients are following this each day whilst they are isolated and its bringing them joy to see the stories of books found.”

The practice is open for emergencies such as painful ingrowing toenails, but requests must be made in the first instance to info@meltonpodiatry.com for triage prior to booking.

All other podiatry and pedicure appointments have been suspended at this time.

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