A MUM from Widnes has written a book to help her son and his classmates who are struggling with not seeing each other during the coronavirus.

Merv the Magpie tells the story of a special bird who goes in search of Farnworth C of E Primary schoolchildren he normally sees from his nest opposite the classroom, whilst picking up a few keepsakes along the way.

Sharron Parle, 49, from Widnes, has used her furlough time of being a lab administrator to reassure the 4JJ class during lockdown that it won't last forever and they will be reunited.

Explaining that her nine-year-old son Thomas was the catalyst behind the story, she said: "I realised that, although my son Thomas and his school friends, who are a very close class, missed each other terribly, they were often feeling overwhelmed and withdrew when we attempted to connect them en mass using technology.

"I decided to use my time to create something uplifting to reassure the children during these strange times and allow them to feel connected to their whole class by being able to read and think about them whenever they wish until they can be reunited."

The book, which took a month to finalise and includes the 30 children in class 4JJ, has been well received by all the children and their parents.

"I've had parents messaging me saying they love it. I have been persuaded to self publish with Amazon for Kindle Fire. Obviously I'm thrilled about publishing my first children's story after years of writing but never finding the time to complete any but I'm also keen just to have Merv's story told and bring some hope to any children who are desperately looking forward to being able to hug and play with their friends."

Exercising creative flair in abundance when it comes to writing fiction, Sharron is working on another book for publication: "I started writing a book on and off called Chicken Wing Fred and the Fatburg of Doom where my son alongside his trusted rubber chicken meets creatures that live in the pipes of his house."

The colourful illustrations in Merv the Magpie were created by Sharron's close friend's daughter Abbie Strain who is a pupil at the Heath in Runcorn

The book is available for digital download on Kindle for £1.99.