Storyteller becomes patron of reading for Scotland

Storyteller Marjorie Leithead outside Eyemouth Primary School
Storyteller Marjorie Leithead outside Eyemouth Primary School

She’s the lady who captivates children and adults with her enthusiastic storytelling – and Berwickshire should be seeing a lot more of Marjorie Leithead from now on.

To her own shock and surprise, Marjorie was recently appointed as a patron of reading for Scotland, with her new base being Eyemouth Primary School.

She was put forward for the role by someone from Edinburgh Storytelling Centre and was on a shortlist which included noted authors, illustrators and poets so thought she stood no chance.

But her work across Scotland in the last few years, including two Storytelling Festivals at Gunsgreen House, has obviously caught the eye and national organiser of the Patron of Reading scheme Jon Biddell thought she was the perfect fit.

The aim of the scheme is to get children to read purely for enjoyment rather than because they have to for academic reasons.

And with a real passion for all kinds of literature, Maureen can’t wait to get started.

“We know children read, they read things on the internet all the time but this is all about getting them back to books and reading for the fun of it.

“I really want to build up the children’s links with old Scots language and words we’ve all forgotten about.

“Anne Donvan’s ‘Gone Are The Leaves’ is great for that.”

Another author Marjorie is a great fan of is star of ‘The Office’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films Mackenzie Crook who she met recently at Edinburgh Book Festival.

“His book ‘The Lost Journals of Benjamin Crook’ is just fantastic,” she enthused.

“He does all the illustrations himself as well. It was a pleasure to meet him and he is keen to become a Patron of Reading for Sevenoaks in Kent where he lives.”

Her appointment at Eyemouth Primary will see Marjorie work closely with deputy head Amy Perryman who is thrilled to be working with her.

“The children absolutely love her.

“When she comes in and starts reading a story to them you can see their eyes light up.

“We want them to be able to lose themselves in a book in the same way they do when Marjorie reads a story to them.”