AUTHOR Simon Turney called on friends, Romans and countrymen to lend their ears and their support for community libraries.

The writer, who has produced 20 books of historical fiction, many around his passion, the Romans, was the guest speaker at an evening of entertainment organised by Bedale Community Library in the ballroom at Bedale Hall. One of his latest books is a new take on Caligula, who is generally regarded as Rome's most tyrannical emperor but Simon believes he could have been a victim of "the fake news of history."

The author who lives near Bedale at Kirklington, said he was delighted to support the work of the library on his doorstep. It has been run by volunteers for the past two years after staff funding by the county council ended.

He said: "It is absolutely critical to support the library, there is a sector of society who struggle to buy books or access books, the work they do is so valuable."

The author who writes under SJA Turney, started writing full time 14 years ago after working for the Ministry of Agriculture and in IT, but had always penned short stories and visited historical sites as a child.

Chair of the Friends of Bedale Library Susan Perkins said: "We want to thank Simon so much for his support. The library costs £18,000 a year to run and for the Friends this is one of our most important fundraising events events of the year."