Ready to read? Dickens event at Culture Festival needs your help

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Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago and to mark the anniversary Rugby people are joining forces to read his classic stories.

As part of the town’s Festival of Culture, the Rugby Reads initiative will involve volunteers reading from the great Victorian’s novels and short stories in relay for 15 minutes each.

It’s all in aid of Rugby Myton Hospice - and you can do your reading wherever you like.

Organiser Rex Pogson said: “Rugby Reads is in its third year as a festival of reading aloud.

“This year we want it to be an even bigger and better part of the Rugby Festival of Culture than last year.

“Why here? Because Dickens wrote short stories about a fictional Midlands railway station, Mugby Junction, which were inspired by Rugby.”

Mr Pogson is aiming to involve as many people as possible in supporting Rugby Myton Hospice to provide home care for the very ill – support from the whole community for the ‘Myton At Home’ service.

So how will the relay of reading aloud work?

Mr Pogson said: “We are asking as many individuals, groups and organisations as possible in Rugby to register for one (or more) ‘laps’ of 15 minutes reading aloud, during the two weeks of the Rugby Festival.

“You can choose any part you like from any work by Dickens, and read it aloud wherever suits you.

“We want someone, somewhere, to be reading Dickens aloud between 8am and 8pm on each day of the Festival - that’s 48 different ‘laps’ each day for 14 days.

“If we get too many people - perhaps schools and businesses will book in hundreds of people to do hundreds of laps! – we shall ‘run’ as many simultaneous relays as we can.”

Those taking part can help Myton Hospice by having their minutes sponsored.

“It’s not competitive, we just hope our fun can help the local charity. You may simply want to make a donation,” said Mr Pogson.

Sponsorship and Gift-aid forms for Myton Hospice can be picked up at Hunt’s Bookshop.

n To register phone 07500 484756, email, complete the registration form opposite or go to www.rugbyfestivalof

The organisers will get in touch soon about your exact Festival reading times.

n Thanks to Vodafone in Rugby for sponsoring the Rugby Reads phone, Hunt’s Bookshop in the town centre for hosting the ‘Please Join In’ posting box, and St Andrew’s Church for receiving posted registrations.

The Mugby Junction stories will be read on the morning of Tuesday July 3 on platform 2 at Rugby Station, with the support of train operator Virgin Rail.

n While volunteers can read anywhere they like - public or private - there is a chance to take part in the Festival in the town centre.

The organisers would like as many people as possible to take part in the live reading aloud of Nicholas Nickleby in the town centre throughout the Festival.

Please state when you register if you’d like to have the chance to join in with this.