North East Connected

TV favourite Pam Royle provides the voice of Zizu zebra and friends in a new children’s book

MUCH-LOVED television presenter Pam Royle is making her debut as a children’s book narrator by providing the voice of a lovable little zebra and his jungle chums.

Pam, who stepped down last year from her role as Tyne Tees Television presenter after a career spanning nearly 40 years, is narrating the audio version of Zizu Loses His Stripes.

The book, written by North-East journalist Peter Barron and illustrated by local artist Jonathan Raiseborough, is part of an initiative to fund nursery places for disadvantaged children.

The story is about the power of friendship because, when Zizu zebra loses his stripes, he turns to Geoffrey Giraffe, Cody Crocodile, Priscilla Gorilla, Poppy Parrot and Ellie Elephant for help.

The book has been commissioned by Teesside businessman Maaz Rahman and Nicci Knight, who run Zizu’s Day Care and Learning Centre, in Middlesbrough town centre.

Proceeds will go towards supporting the newly launched Zizu’s Foundation, a charity committed to providing pre-school places for children who might otherwise miss out.

The book has been endorsed by the North East Autism Society, and Pam has also worked with Signpost Productions, in Gateshead, to narrate a signed video version for deaf children.

Maaz launched Zizu’s Day Care and Learning Centre in 2016 following the death of his wife, Saerah, the mother of their two children. Saerah, who was just 36, was passionate about childcare and education, and the book is dedicated to her memory.

Maaz said: “We believe Zizu’s is the first nursery in the world to have its own children’s book and we are thrilled to be teaming up with Peter, Jonathan and Pam in such an innovative way. They have a wealth of talent and experience between them, and I know Saerah would be so proud to know that Zizu had been brought to life in a beautiful book that will enrich children’s lives.”

Pam added: “It has been a joy to narrate such a lovely book with a strong message about friendship, and to be part of something that will make a difference to the lives of North-East children.”

Peter Barron, former editor of The Northern Echo, has had eight previous children’s books published, including the Monstrous Morals series. He and Jonathan, who is autistic, previously worked together on a novel called Snowdrop The Spikeshuffler, which featured on the ITV programme, This Time Next Year.

Peter will give a reading of the book at Cockerton Library, in Darlington, between 10am and 11am on Saturday, July 9. That will be followed by a book-signing at Waterstones, in The Cornmill Centre, Darlington, from 12-2pm, with Pam Royle making a special appearance to give readings between 1pm and 2pm. There will then be another book-signing at Guru, in Darlington, between 2pm and 4pm.

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