A LITTLE girl who would tell her soldier father jokes on the phone to try and cheer him up in Afghanistan has now won an award for helping raise a few more smiles in the world.

Seven-year-old Grace Franklin from Billingham was sad when her Army officer father was posted to Afghanistan in 2012 and so the pair would tell each other a joke each time they spoke on the phone or via Skype.

She racked up so many jokes that she ended up writing them in a book which she sold to raise more that £630 for the Royal British Legion.

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On Wednesday (April 2) at Billingham Forum, outgoing Stockton mayor, Kathryn Nelson, gave Grace a special Young Person’s Award for her efforts on behalf of the people of the borough.

Grace, who attends Billingham Pentland Primary School, explained that her mother, Jenny, and big sister, Elizabeth, would tell her jokes when her dad was away that she would repeat on the phone.

It was her idea to write the book which took more than six months and sold over 600 copies.

“I really hope my book helps anybody who is feeling a bit sad," she added.

And her favourite joke? 'What do you get if a giant monster sat on Batman and Robin? A flatman and ribbon!”

Her father, Captain Glen Franklin of the Royal Engineers, said: “Grace is such a caring little with a big heart.

"When she said she would like to help other children with mums and dads in the forces. The joke book seemed the best way.”

Her mother, Jenny, a community fundraiser, said special mention should go to Grace’s school and all its parents and children who bought and sold many of the books.

A second book is already being planned.

“Grace worked very hard for a long time to make that book,” she said.

Her big sister, Elizabeth, 16, said: “I’m so proud to have Grace as my little sister. She has such a big heart and is always doing things to help others." 

Grace’s joke book is available from littlebookofjokes.co.uk or from Billingham Forumor the Hereford centre in Billingham.

Here are some other jokes from Grace: Q. Did you hear about the race between the lettuce and the tomato?

A. The lettuce was a “head” and the tomato was trying to “ketchup”!

Q. What gets wetter the more it dries?

A. A towel.

Q: Why did the picture go to jail?

A: Because it was framed.

Q. What do you get when you cross fish and an elephant?

A. Swimming trunks.

Q. Why did the banana go to the Doctor?

A. Because it was not peeling well.

Q. Why was the sand wet?

A. Because the seaweed.

Q. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

A. Frostbite.

Q. What is the best day to go to the beach?

A. Sunday, of course.

Q. What bow can’t be tied?

A. A rainbow!

Q. What season is it when you are on a trampoline?

A. Spring time.

Q. Why did the traffic light turn red?

A. You would too if you had to change in the middle of the street!

Q. What did one elevator say to the other elevator?

A. I think I’m coming down with something!

Q. Why did the boy take a pencil to bed?

A. To draw the curtains.

Q. How many books can you put in an empty backpack?

A. One! After that its not empty!

Q. Why did the boy tiptoe past the medicine cabinet?

A. He didn’t want to wake the sleeping pills!

Q. Why did the belt go to jail?

A. Because it held up a pair of pants!

Q. What did the stamp say to the envelope?

A. Stick with me and we will go places!

Q. What kind of shoes do all spies wear?

A. Sneakers.

Q. What do you call a sheep with no head and no legs?

A. A cloud!

Q. Why did the boy eat his homework?

A. Because his teacher said it was a piece of cake!