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11:49 AM 31st December 2020
family

Tom Gets 'Life He Never Had' With Starring Role In Magical New Children's Book

A young man who spent his final moments at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice has been immortalised in a heart-warming and magical new book penned by his Uncle and his partner.

Tom and mum Gillian on a Bluebell Wood fundraiser
Tom and mum Gillian on a Bluebell Wood fundraiser
Tom Scotford, 21, peacefully drew his last breath in mum Gillian’s arms at the hospice in 2017 to Eva Cassidy’s Field’s of Gold. Tom, who had a heart defect and was severely brain damaged, began visiting Bluebell Wood when it opened 2008 - and his family have been raising funds and awareness for the charity ever since.

Now his uncle Steve Bullock alongside partner Gail Shuttleworth are giving him the “life he never had” by casting him as a central character in their captivating and magical adventure tale, 2 Very Rare Bears.

As well as being a fitting legacy for Tom, Steve, Gail and Gillian hope the book will help promote better representation in fiction for those living with disabilities.

Gail and Steve are excited to have their first ever book on the shelves
Gail and Steve are excited to have their first ever book on the shelves
“Tom is never far from our minds so when it came to writing the book, bearing in mind all that our family has been through, it seemed like the obvious thing to do,” said Steve, 58, from Dronfield.

“I’ve been obsessed with books most of my life and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, and so has Gail. We created the story and just decided to go for it.

“It was a very emotional process writing the book but it seemed like the perfect way to give him a story, and give him the chance to do things he was never able to do in life because of his condition.

“Books where the central characters are disabled are very rare so we’re very proud of the book and we hope children living with disabilities will be able to relate to the characters.”

2 Very Rare Bears follows the adventures of Tom – who in the book is a recently orphaned disabled boy - as he gets caught up in a captivating, globetrotting adventure involving two very special bears.

Ten per cent of the book’s profits, which is the authors’ first and has had rave reviews, will go to the place Tom spent so much of his life - Bluebell Wood. 2 Very Rare Bears is on sale on Amazon and in the shop at Chatsworth House.

The magical adventure is on sale nowThe magical adventure is on sale now
Tom has a starring role in the heart-warming taleTom has a starring role in the heart-warming tale

“Tom was very much the heart of our family and every day we feel close to him,” said Gillian Scotford, 55, from Dronfield.

“So it’s incredibly moving to have him as the central character in such a nice, positive and inclusive story.

“We lived and breathed Bluebell Wood for many years and the support we received really did help us to cope so we’re very pleased that the book will benefit the hospice.

“Since Tom died everything I have done has been centered around improving the quality of life for those living with disabilities so when I first read the book it was incredibly heart-warming and I felt so proud.”

Gillian is still heavily involved in fundraising for Bluebell Wood and each year the family host ‘Tom’s Golden Miles’ which is special 35-mile circular walk through picturesque Derbyshire villages. She also helped found Accessible Derbyshire– a charity focused on improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Matt Sheridan, Regional Fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said:
“2 Very Rare Bears is a beautiful legacy for Tom and we’re incredibly grateful that the hospice will benefit from such a wonderfully magical and inclusive tale.

“It was our privilege to be able to able to give Tom, Gillian and the family their final precious moments together and we wish them every success with this very special story.”

About Bluebell Wood
Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice cares for children and young adults with life-shortening and life-threatening conditions. They are currently supporting over 300 families, both in our North Anston hospice and in family homes.
Their support services are wide ranging and bespoke to each family; including end of life treatment and care, respite care, music therapy, counselling, sibling support groups, home visits and much, much more.
It costs £5.1M to keep the doors open for families across South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire, North Nottinghamshire and parts of North Lincolnshire, which is almost £14,000 each day. Only 15% of their funding comes from government sources.