General, Investing in our schools, Libraries, Olympics

More than a thousand people take part in Olympic read in fairytale forest

Megan with mum Kirsty at Surrey County Council’s Big Read for Small Children event at Alice Holt Forest in Farnham, Surrey, on 16 May. Click here to download image.

A group of 1,400 children under five and their families saw the pages of their favourite books come to life in a fairytale forest setting yesterday (16 May) to mark London 2012’s UK Inspire Day.

Surrey County Council organised The Big Read for Small Children event at the Forestry Commission’s Alice Holt Forest in Farnham, Surrey, to encourage parents to read with their children.

Tim Hall, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, said: “The Big Read for Small Children helped hundreds of children to discover the joy of books. It’s never too early to start loving stories and those who took part in this event will carry on reading.”

The families, mostly from Sure Start Children’s Centres, followed a trail through the forest, taking part in music, nursery rhymes and face painting activities based on books such as Going on a Bear Hunt and The Gruffalo.

There was also an inflatable tent ‘diary room’ that families visited to record what they liked best and pop-up forest libraries with books to borrow, story tellers and comfy reading areas.

The Big Read for Small Children was a follow up to Surrey County Council’s Every Child a Talker Communication Decathlon event, which received an Olympic Inspire Mark in 2011.

Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG* said: “This event is one of 2,700 projects using the Inspire mark across the United Kingdom. I’d like to thank Surrey County Council for all their support and hard work using the power of the Games to inspire change.”


For more information, journalists can contact Surrey County Council media officer Nicole Herlihy on 020 8541 8039 or email

Notes to Editors

*London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Visit for more information about Surrey’s involvement in the 2012 Games.


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