David Walliams’ boost for Sheffield writer, 6, who penned book in memory of brother who died at 20 days old

David Walliams
David Walliams

A young author who sold copies of his book to raise money in memory of his brother has been contacted by his writing inspiration, David Walliams.

Paddy Newton, 6, has been bowled over by the bestselling author and comedian who has sent him a bundle of signed goodies, and invited him to be his guest at the filming of a Britain’s Got Talent live show this month.

After reading about Paddy’s fundraising in The Star, David Walliam’s got in touch with Paddy’s family to congratulate him on his writing and to offer him the chance to travel to London and meet him.

David’s note to Paddy reads: “I read all about your brilliant idea of writing a book and selling it for charity. I can’t wait to read it. ‘The Adventure to find the Monkey Faced Bat’ is a superb title. Best of all you are honouring your brother’s memory and turning something negative into a positive by helping other children through the Children’s Hospital Charity. Keep up the great work. With love, David”

Dan Newton, Paddy’s proud dad, said: “We are overwhelmed that this has happened to Paddy, who must be one of David Walliam’s biggest fans. He has been counting down the days until David’s new book is released, so this really is the perfect surprise for him.

“He was so excited when he found out. He said it was ‘awesome’ in fact.”

Paddy, of Crosspool in Sheffield, originally penned the story for BBC Radio 2’s 500 words competition. In the story, protagonist Sam, 70 – named after his grandads and younger brother – sets out on a grand adventure to find the Fijian monkey-faced bat. Featuring hand-drawn illustrations and maps, the story follows Sam and his young sidekick James on their journey.

After deciding to sell copies for £1 each, Dan set up a JustGiving page raising money for The Children’s Hospital Charity. Dan, along with wife Kerry and their two surviving sons Samuel and Paddy, have to date raised more than £17,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital in memory of their little boy Benjamin. The youngster died after contracting pneumonia on February 11th 2009. Through the site, Paddy has raised almost £2000 – way surpassing his £50 target.

Caitlin Hallatt, community fundraiser at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We are blown away by Paddy’s fantastic fundraising – and are so pleased for him that he has been recognised by his idol, David Walliams. Every penny raised will help keep Sheffield Children’s Hospital – one of only four standalone children’s hospitals in the UK – at the forefront of paediatric care. Thank you Paddy!”

The Children’s Hospital Charity fundraises for enhancements to Sheffield Children’s Hospital that are over and above the standard NHS provision. Money raised buys the latest medical equipment, funds research into the prevention and cure of childhood illnesses and disease and helps create new facilities and improvements to the hospital environment.

To find out how to get a copy of Paddy’s story, or to make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adventuretofindthemonkeyfacedbat

For more information on The Children’s Hospital Charity, please visit www.tchc.org.uk