The island’s countryside code is again being taught to children through the ‘Jelly and Oof’ story book.

Developed by the Manx National Farmers Union (MNFU), the story tells of what happens when two friends Jelly the calf and Oof the lamb are accidentally let out of their field.

The book is titled ‘The Adventures of Jelly and Oof’, and the concept was started by farmer Paula Creer from Crosby.

Mrs Creer was inspired by a ‘very characterful’ orphan calf and lamb on her family farm that had formed an ‘unlikely friendship’. Her grandchildren then named them Jelly and Oof.

Artist Steph Quayle Jackson, who is also a farmer, created the artwork for the book, while MNFU’s Carolyn Lace wrote the story that is now being delivered in the island’s primary schools.

Children are read the story and then discuss the situations Jelly and Oof find themselves in - which leads to an understanding of how to take better care in the countryside.

The Manx NFU visiting Anagh Coar Primary School to tell the Jelly and Oof story. Photo by Callum Staley (CJS Photography)
Paula Creer from the MNFU reads out the Jelly and Oof story to teach Anagh Coar schoolchildren about the countryside code (Callum Staley)

A spokesperson from the MNFU said: ‘Paula the farmer brings along the animals and after the story, the children get to meet them and relate the countryside code to the actual animals. They also all get issued with their own copy of the storybook for free.

‘The project has become increasingly popular in schools over the last two years. Jelly is now a cow and is expecting a baby so Peanut the calf has joined the celebrity circuit. Another new recruit is Sammy the lamb, who loves to join the children in the classroom and is very entertaining for everyone.’

The Jelly and Oof project has led to the development of new advisory signage that is now being displayed to farmers across the island.

Using the same illustrations from the story book, the signage attempts to ‘make people recognise the story’.

The spokesperson added: ‘The hope is that children and families, when out enjoying the island’s many beautiful glens, plantations and footpaths, will recognise the signage from the story of Jelly and Oof and relate to it more effectively.

‘Ultimately, we hope to encourage more empathy and understanding for those managing farmland, livestock, and the environment, making it more enjoyable for everyone.

‘Both the school visits and the signage are free, and this would not have been possible without the support of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) and the Rotary Club of Douglas.

Paula Creer (local farmer) & Carolyn Lace, Manx NFU visiting Anagh Coar Primary School to tell the Jelly and Oof story. Photo by Callum Staley (CJS Photography)
Paula Creer (a local farmer) and Carolyn Lace from the MNFU (Callum Staley)

‘Their contribution has been invaluable to the success of the project, and the MNFU are very grateful for their continued support.’ DEFA minister, Claire Barber, added: ‘It is great to see the positive engagement between the MNFU and the children within our island schools on the important topic of the countryside code.

‘Jelly and Oof bring the topic to life and as a child a little bit of chaos in the classroom always led to the most powerful memories, so the addition of Sammy the meg lamb is great news.

The Manx NFU visiting Anagh Coar Primary School to tell the Jelly and Oof story. Photo by Callum Staley (CJS Photography)
Children from Anagh Coar Primary School petting Peanut the Calf (Callum Staley)

‘My own children came home and talked to me about the book, and I hope other parents and grandparents take the chance to learn from the children just how important it is for us all to be responsible in our countryside.’

David Gawne, from the Rotary Club of Douglas, said: ‘The Rotary Club of Douglas, in its centenary year, is delighted to support this initiative to publish advice and guidance for those visiting and enjoying the beautiful Manx countryside.’

Schools can book a free visit and farmers can request the free signs by contacting the MNFU office on 01624 662204 or 07624 490327, or email [email protected]