Celebrity tortoise returns to Halifax - Pupils welcome author and Albert to schools

Schoolchildren throughout Halifax were thrilled to welcome shell-ebrity tortoise Albert on his return visit recently – and excited to meet his new friends, a messy yeti and a flea called Hugg ‘n’ Bugg.
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Albert the tortoise is a real tortoise – and a big hit on social media. He’s also the inspiration for a series of picturebooks by former journalist turned tv writer and producer Ian Brown.

Ian last visited Halifax in September to tour schools with his stories. The events were such a hit that he was almost immediately invited back to speak to more than 400 pupils.

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Ian's credits include The South Bank Show, big red book tribute show This Is Your Life and Top Gear. He's written or produced for the likes of Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Caine, Trevor McDonald, The Simpsons, Martin Kemp, Jamie Oliver, Bob Monkhouse, Ian Wright, Des O'Connor, John Barnes, Davina McCall and Ross Kemp.

Ian Brown at Sacred Heart SchoolIan Brown at Sacred Heart School
Ian Brown at Sacred Heart School

Ian, who is based in London, said: “It was great returning to Yorkshire once more. It was a regular location for This Is Your Life shows and I was lucky to work on many programmes with cast from Emmerdale, also with Calendar and Countdown legend Richard Whiteley and Barnsley cricket umpire Dickie Bird. Visiting the schools was wonderful and the reception for the books from the youngsters was brilliant.”

Four primary schools in Halifax – Ash Green in Mixenden, Withinfields in Southowram plus Bolton Brow and All Saints in Sowerby Bridge invited Ian to read from his stories, to talk about his muse and being a writer. The events were organized by local bookshop The Thoughtful Spot in Skircoat Green.

Real Albert the tortoise is more than 80 years old and has been a pet in Ian’s family more than 50 years. With his own pages on facebook, twitter, tik tok and a website, Albert has gathered thousands of fans around the world and his appeal has grown since the release of the first book, Albert Upside Down, illustrated by Eoin Clarke.

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Now there are four books in the series with Albert and the Wind, Albert Supersize and new book Albert in the Air.

Ian Brown at The Thoughtful Spot BookshopIan Brown at The Thoughtful Spot Bookshop
Ian Brown at The Thoughtful Spot Bookshop

The books have now been added to by Ian and Eoin’s new creation Hugg ‘n’ Bugg FINDING HOME about an abominable snowman and a flea who doesn’t like the cold.

It's been quite a journey for real Albert. He was rescued more than 50 years ago by Ian's wife Millie when she was a little girl.

Ian said, "Albert seems to be taking all this in his stride. He has become a bit of a diva but that might just be his age. We've all been amazed at how his popularity has grown. He has fans across the UK, USA, Japan and Australia. It took me thirty years to get a publishing deal, trying in between TV work, but Albert was the inspiration I needed. It's a delight to visit schools and share Albert’s world. Luckily they seem to like the stories and we hand out stickers and colour-in sheets too. Putting words into the mouth of picture book Albert has been a joy.”

For more information visit AlbertTortoise.com

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