PUPILS at a North-East school paid tribute to a children’s writer who taught creative writing there for many years, when they were presented with three of her books.

Doreen Dean, who died in February last year, aged 76, spent many years working in schools around the region as a freelance creative writing teacher.

Many of the sessions were held at what was then Abbey Junior School, in Darlington.

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On Monday (May 19) Mrs Dean's family presented copies of her books in her memory.

They included Humphrey, about a teddy bear, and Twitterbud, about a bird.

Mrs Dean's writing career began late in life, when she won the first poetry competition she entered at the age of 51.

The competition, entitled ‘Gizza Poem’, was organised by The Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers.

Alan Bleasdale, the TV dramatist who wrote Boys from the Blackstuff, was the judge and awarded Mrs Dean joint first prize.

Following her success, her work appeared in a number of poetry anthologies and she began to teach creative writing in schools around the region.

The first anthology of her collected works, Phantom Voices, was published just weeks before she died after a long illness.

She worked with many of the junior children at Abbey and her son Dave, who has organised the handover event, said: “My mother would be absolutely delighted that her books were continuing to be read across the whole of the school where she loved to spend time in the classroom.

"At a time when the Darlington arts scene is so vibrant, using these books to aid children’s reading and development would give her tremendous pleasure.”

George Ford, executive headteacher of the Federation of Abbey Schools, said: “Doreen’s contribution promoted a love of reading that continues to thrive with staff and with children of all ages at our school.”