Treehouse launch for new red squirrel book

AN action-packed children's book to save Britain's endangered red squirrel was launched in Alnwick last week.

Author Ernie Gordon was at The Alnwick Garden's Treehouse to promote his first book The Adventures of Rusty Redcoat.

The book, which took Mr Gordon three years to write follows the adventures of a mischievous squirrel called Rusty and a gamekeeper's son. He received help at Shilbottle Skills Centre.

Mr Gordon, 74, first became interested in red squirrels when growing up in the 1930s in Ulgham, near Morpeth.

He hopes that his book will encourage the younger generation to get involved in his mission to save the red squirrel.

Mr Gordon expressed his gratitude to the Duchess of Northumberland who also attended Friday's launch.

He said: "Can you imagine a better place on the planet to launch a book about red squirrels than a huge treehouse?

"And who better to support it than a Duchess? It's magic. I feel like Peter Pan."

The Duchess said: "We will be doing everything we can to keep grey squirrels out of the estates and encourage red squirrels to thrive."

She went on to congratulate Mr Gordon's remarkable achievement.

"So many people want to write a book but so few actually do.

"I have nothing but admiration for him," she said.

Mr Gordon also signed copies of his book for Alex Barlow, Jessica Williams, Madison McNeill and Dominic Taylor, budding writers from the Duke's Middle School in Alnwicik.

Their teacher, assistant head Anne Puddesphat, said they have all shown literary promise.

Alex, 12, said he likes writing about dinosaurs and time travel.

Madison said he prefers to write adventures stories and is looking forward to reading The Adventures of Rusty Redcoat.

There are only an estimated 140,000 red squirrels left in Britain.

The native red squirrel is under continuing threat from its disease-ridden North American cousin, the Grey Squirrel.

Rusty has his own website www.rustyredcoat.com, designed by Bill Grisdale.

The book costs 12.99 and is on sale in The Alnwick Garden's shop and in Waterstones.