Bestselling novelist and former SAS soldier Andy NcNab thrilled workers at Merseytravel in Liverpool today (5 November 2012) when he visited them to sign copies of his latest book Red Notice, and celebrate their winning the UK prize draw for workplaces participating in the Six Book Challenge.
Launched in 2008 by independent charity The Reading Agency, the annual Six Book Challenge helps tackle the UK's continuing skills deficit. It encourages less confident readers to develop a new reading habit and improve their skills at the same time. Participants are invited to pick six reads of their choice and complete a reading diary in order to receive incentives along the way and a certificate. The Reading Agency runs an annual prize draw in partnership with the Campaign for Learning for workplaces which take part in the Six Book Challenge and mark Learning At Work Day; a visit from a top author such as Andy NcNab from Transworld Publishers is the prize.
Six Book Challenge activities amongst Merseytravel employees began in 2008 and has grown every year. It involves successful partnership working by management, trade unions, Union Learner Representatives and a key partnership with Unionlearn, the learning arm of the TUC.
The partnership project, Merseylearn, has been highly effective in supporting learning and skills not only in Merseytravel but also across the transport sector on Merseyside. An amazing 92 people completed the challenge this year, which equates to more than one in five of Merseytravel's very diverse workforce, helping them win the National Award which they will collect at a special event in late November.
Andy McNab did a question and answer session and signed copies of his new book Red Notice. Following his visit, Andy said: "Reading and literacy changed my life, which is why I'm supporting the Six Book Challenge. It's great to see the scheme working so well at Merseytravel. Long may it continue."
Councillor Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel said: "It's great to read inspirational books, but to have the chance to discuss literature with Andy really brought it to life for everyone and we look forward to a continuing our involvement with the Six Book Challenge in the coming years".
Liz Chandler, director of corporate development at Merseytravel added: "The Six Book Challenge is a fantastic initiative which really inspires people to pick up a good book and rediscover the joys of reading. Our Union Learner Reps have done a brilliant job of getting so many people involved and we are delighted to be recognised with the National Award".
Andy McNab joined the infantry as a boy soldier. In 1984 he was 'badged' as a member of 22 SAS Regiment and was involved in both covert and overt special operations worldwide. During the Gulf War he commanded the groundbreaking Bravo Two Zero patrol. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS in 1993. He wrote about his experiences in the phenomenal bestseller Bravo Two Zero, Immediate Action and Seven Troop. He is the author of the bestselling Nick Stone thrillers as well as a number of other fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and young adults. He has sold over ten million books in the UK alone.
"Merseytravel have been fantastic supporters of the Six Book Challenge," says The Reading Agency's adult literacy specialist Genevieve Clarke. "We're thrilled that they won this annual draw that we run with the Campaign for Learning, and we're very grateful to Transworld Publishers for bringing Andy McNab to meet Merseytravel staff who have taken part in the Challenge. It's been a real boost for everyone and we hope that Merseytravel will have even more Six Book Challenge completers in 2013."
So far this year, 12,000 adult readers have signed up through public libraries, 6,000 through further education and sixth form colleges, 4,000 through prisons and 1,500 through workplaces.
Materials for the 2013 Six Book Challenge featuring a call to action from Andy McNab are now available to order.
The main activity for the 2013 Six Book Challenge will run from January to September, but organisations are welcome to run it at any time that suits them during the year. The Reading Agency will also continue to work with the TUC's learning arm unionlearn to encourage more workplaces to get involved. Those who took part in 2012 include Tesco, Transport for London, De Montfort University, local councils and NHS Trusts.
Picture (from left to right): Merseytravel employees and Six Book Challenge completers Carol McCain, Fran Ball and Dave Garvey with Andy McNab. Credit: Andrew Davidson/Geoff Robertson Photography.
Debbie Hyde, Oasis Media, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07956 320 486.
Notes to editors
- Merseytravel is the operating name of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority and Passenger Transport Executive. Merseytravel co-ordinates public transport through partnership initiatives, with the aim of delivering a fully integrated, environmentally friendly, public transport network that is accessible to all.Merseytravel owns and operates the famous Mersey Ferries and associated tourism attractions; the U-Boat Story, Spaceport, the Mersey Tunnel Tour, and the Beatles Story. For more information contact Merseytravel's press office on: 0151 330 1151