WHEN Richard Elliott’s children were growing up in Oxenhope, he told them stories about an elusive goblin who lived in the village.
“While walking through Oxenhope, we came across a small door. How could anything fit through the back door? Could anyone live there? So Oxenhope’s Goblin was born, and I was telling Connor, Morgan, and Tyler about his adventures before bedtime,” he says.
Now that his sons are grown, Richard has once again brought George the Goblin back to life in a children’s book.
The Goblin of Oxenhope tells the story of four children who go on an adventure through the village, but all is not as it seems as they get further and further from the station – a stop on the famous Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR).
Connor, Morgan and Tyler feature in the book, along with their fourth companion Alyssa.
As they enter the Goblin’s world, they discover that all is not as it seems. “I’ve told my kids countless stories about the elusive Oxenhope Goblin, but this is the first time I’ve actually sat down and written a story about it,” says Richard. “Because I love Oxenhope, Haworth and Yorkshire so much, being able to include things like the KWVR in the adventures was a must
“The railway is very important and special to our family which we always visit including the museum come rain, snow or snow.”
The book is illustrated by artist Grace Spalding. “Grace is my eldest son Connor’s best friend. She has a first in art from the University of Bristol. At first I was trying to figure out the best way to bring the story to life, and when he suggested Grace, I saw her unique style and knew she would be the perfect illustrator.
“To see the vision I had, long ago, when we walked up to the top of Oxenhope and around the reservoir, come to life through Grace’s illustrations was just magical. In terms of the second story, who knows where along KWVR George will stop next.
Richard grew up in Wibsey. “I have fond memories of growing up there, playing sport, mainly cricket and rugby league – I’m a Bradford Bulls supporter. I also competed for Yorkshire as a captain at volleyball.
“I loved being in the countryside and walking around, spending time with my family and friends.”
After meeting his wife Andrea, Richard lived in Cullingworth and eventually the couple moved to Oxenhope with their three sons.
While writing the story, Richard, who now lives in Warwickshire, became a foster parent. The values of friendship, inclusiveness, and empathy that the children in the story and George share are found throughout the book.
Richard has pledged that all future children’s books will feature goblins. “Goblins are rarely featured in children’s books and the reason George is so worried about meeting the children is because of the reputation of goblins. I hope this book and future books in the series will show what goblins can look like.
*The Goblin of Oxenhope is published by Nightingale Books, a division of Pegasus, for £8.99