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How a Band of New Writers Used Lockdown to Support Guildford Charity Challengers

Published on: 6 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 5 Oct, 2022

The book of 30 short stories written to raise funds for the Challengers charity which supports disabled young children.

Soon after she was born, Anna Lawrence was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition which severely affects her limbs and her speech, writes Dragon reporter David Reading.

It was to support children like 12-year-old Anna that a small group of us decided to get together to deploy our literary talents during lockdown for the benefit of the Guildford-based charity, Challengers.

We have written and published a 328-page collection of short stories with all profits from sales going to the charity, which gives disabled young people like Anna the opportunity to play and make friends in a safe and supportive environment.

The project began at a crucial time during the pandemic, when lockdown was forcing us to stay indoors and somehow keep busy. Our small group had been part of a writing circle for two years. Through much of the pandemic we worked on the project, eventually creating 30 original stories that we hope people will find entertaining and, in many cases, thought-provoking.

There is the story of the young librarian named Robert, anxious and withdrawn, who is unexpectedly given a chance to find happiness; the ten-year-old girl named October who, out of the blue, discovers the answer to a tragic family mystery; the two conmen whose get-rich-quick scheme doesn’t go as planned; the conspiracy theorist who goes off the rails after meeting the nurse with translucent skin; and a host of other lively characters.

David Reading. Both his daughters work for Challengers.

Both of my daughters have worked for Challengers  – Sophie is now a senior manager there – and we also know some of the personal stories of the children who benefit from their work. For example, there is Anna, whose parents Will and Peta Lawrence have dedicated their lives to making sure their daughter has a fulfilling life.

Anna is rarely happier when playing and meeting her friends at Challengers’ headquarters at Stoke Park.

As the charity says: “There are many barriers which stop disabled children from accessing play, but we challenge these barriers, making it possible for every disabled child to have fun and be included.

“Every child has a right to play, and our non-exclusion policy means we’ll never exclude a child based on the complexity of their needs. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way at Challengers.”

The instigator of the short story project was Alexis Krite, who lived in Guildford during the 1980s and has now made her home in Devon. Alexis has written around half of the stories in the collection.

Max Bevan and Alex Krite, both now in Devon

Max Bevan, another member of the team, is a former Guildford businessman, also now living in Devon.

My own background has been as a journalist and later as a founder of the national charity Anaphylaxis UK, for which I spent 25 years writing information materials. But the project for Challengers was my first serious attempt at publishing fiction.

Our book, “The Kindness of Time and other Stories,” costs £9.95, plus £3.60 postage and packing per book. To order a copy please email with Book Order in the subject line. Please include the number of books you would like, your full name, delivery address and preferred payment method: BACS or Paypal.

To avoid postage and packing costs, delivery could be arranged to people in the Guildford area. Email me at








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Responses to How a Band of New Writers Used Lockdown to Support Guildford Charity Challengers

  1. Peta Lawrence Reply

    October 8, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you so much David and colleagues. What a great charity to support.

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