Story telling with Ruffle the rail dog

Meet Rachel, local author and illustrator

Meet Rachel

       Rachel is a local English and Drama teacher who began drawing and writing the Ruffle series of stories in September 2015. Since self-publishing in April 2016, she has sold nearly 13,000 books, with some being taken to Europe, America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand!

Rachel has combined her love and experience of Airedale Terriers with a knowledge of events on a steam railway (from her two grown up children who worked on the GCR in Leics.), together with her imagination, to create a series of charming, gentle stories that are being enjoyed by audiences young and old.  Rachel’s use of coloured pencils in the illustrations adds to the character of Ruffle and will delight his readers.

Following the initial four books, the series continued with Ruffle’s first Christmas adventure, published in September 2016.  In addition a series of rhyming stories about Ruffle appeared in local monthly magazines.  These stories formed ‘Ruffle’s Rhyme and Colouring Time’ – published early in 2017 along with an exciting new adventure at a Teddy Bears’ picnic.

Ruffle’s next adventure was ‘Ruffle the life saver’ – a bespoke story written for The Joe Humphries Memorial Trust that promotes knowledge about CPR and defibrillators.  Each of the 300 primary schools in Rachel’s home county of Leicestershire received a copy – donated by the trust set up in memory of a young SADS victim.  The story has since been adopted by The Community HeartBeat Trust who are now using the books in their information packs that promote the installation and maintenance of defibrillators within communities.

Early April 2018 saw the next adventure in the story book series – ‘Ruffle learns a new trick!’, where Ruffle is taught a trick using sign language by a boy who wears hearing aids.  Then, in an exciting development, Rachel was commissioned to write a story/activity book for The Baldwin Trust – a Leicestershire charity who specialise in canal boat rides for people in wheelchairs and other disabilities.  The book was completed in September 2018 and is being used by the trust to raise funds for their new boats.

Later in 2018 saw a special WW1 themed Ruffle story to commemorate the centenary of the ending of The First World War, called ‘Ruffle and the first train’.  As Airedale Terriers were used in the trenches of WW1 as messenger dogs and to carry first aid supplies, it seemed only fitting to write a Ruffle story!  Aimed specifically at under 10s this ‘ghost story’ is intended to promote discussion and to start the interest to ensure the sacrifice is remembered for generations to come.

Having delivered drama workshops for Curve Theatre, Leicester, it was only natural that Rachel adapt Ruffle’s adventures into a school assembly performance with a variety of amazing puppets and props – many hand made by Rachel.  Over 120 schools have enjoyed hearing about Ruffle and his adventures with many requesting return visits!  In addition, Ruffle’s journey is being enjoyed by adults as well with Rachel’s popular talks to social groups such as the W.I.  and to residents of care homes – such is the appeal across the generations!

After the forced pause due to lockdown, 2021 saw a further collaboration with The Community HeartBeat Trust (the second book now with them) called ‘What if…I needed First Aid Skills?’  Aimed at teaching basic first aid skills to 6-10 year olds, this 20 page A4-sized book follows Ruffle and friends through a series of easy to follow sections where they learn a range of basic first aid skills from identifying what a danger is to putting a patient in the sleeping/recovery position.  The book is intended as a school teaching resource and with the addition of b/w images to colour this impressive addition is sure to be a popular story.  The CHB Trust have had an initial delivery of 1000 books but intend to involve The Rotary Club in a venture to teach first aid skills using the book in primary schools nationwide!!

It’s really incredible how the Ruffle idea can keep adapting!

In total there are 14 books in the Ruffle series though at present 7 are currently available due to demand!

Be part of Ruffle’s exciting new journey!