New book completes Laxey trilogy

By Siobhan Fletcher   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 10th August 2022 1:00 pm
@siobhanfletcher
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A new children’s book has been published which completes a trilogy about the Great Laxey Mine Railway.

Entitled ‘The Lil’ People and the Magic Tunnel’, the book was written and illustrated by Edith Quaggin, station shop manager and volunteer with Great Laxey Mine Railway.

Her previous books – The Magic Tunnel and Jinny the Witch and the Magic Tunnel – have raised thousands of pounds for the railway, which is owned by Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust.

The new book has been published thanks to a grant from Manx Lottery Trust of £1,753.

As a result, the trilogy is now complete, and the book is now on sale in bookshops and heritage shops around the island.

Each of the three books has also been translated into Manx by Culture Vannin, with the left-hand pages in Manx and the right-hand pages in English.

Five hundred copies of The Lil’ People and the Magic Tunnel have been printed.

Edith said: ‘On behalf of the railway, I’m very grateful to Manx Lottery Trust for providing the funding for the new book.

‘The first two books have gone all around the world, to the USA, New Zealand, and France, with lots of people buying them for their grandchildren.

‘The first book has been reprinted twice and it’s wonderful that they are spreading the story of the railway, and the two engines, Ant and Bee, which carried the ore from the mine.

‘Every penny from the sale of the books goes towards the railway, and the books are great publicity, not just for the railway, but also for the Manx language. I’d like to thank Chris Sheard and Culture Vannin for providing the translation for this book.’

The Great Laxey Mine Railway carries around 5,000 passengers each year.

The restored line runs along the surface section of the tramway which once carried lead and zinc ore from deep inside Great Laxey Mine. Passengers travel in a small carriage, which is pulled by replicas of Ant and Bee, the two original steam engines.

In the new book, the characters of Ant and Bee go down to see the ore arriving at Laxey harbour by horse and cart, and there they meet the fairies of Fairy Cottage.

Sarah Kelly, Manx Lottery Trust chairman, said: ‘These are lovely children’s books which help promote Manx history and the Manx language, and we are delighted to help Edith and the Great Laxey Mine Railway complete the trilogy and finish the adventures of the intrepid engines, Ant and Bee.’

For more about Great Laxey Mine Railway, visit www.laxeyminerailway.im and for information about Manx Lottery Trust and the community funding support available, visit www.mlt.org.im

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