Take care in the sun kids!

The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Kevin Campbell pictured with author Margaret Cunningham at her official book launch of 'Care In The Sun' on Thursday morning at St. Eithne's Park. At back is book Illustsrator, Geraldine Elmsley 0209JM04
The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Kevin Campbell pictured with author Margaret Cunningham at her official book launch of 'Care In The Sun' on Thursday morning at St. Eithne's Park. At back is book Illustsrator, Geraldine Elmsley 0209JM04

A booked aimed at educating young children on the dangers of the sun was launched in the Common Room of St. Eithne’s Park in Derry Thursday.

The book titled, ‘A Day In The Sun With Sally and Sam’, has been written by Margaret Cunningham and her daughter Laura and is illustrated by Margaret’s god-child and niece, Catriona Ferris.

Margaret Cunningham pictured during her book launch of 'Care In The Sun' on Thursday morning at St. Eithne's Park, with, from left, Bridie McCallion, Jean Walton, Bridie Elliott, Alex Bradley, Holy Family Parish, and Catriona Ferris, Illustrator. 0209JM03

Margaret Cunningham pictured during her book launch of 'Care In The Sun' on Thursday morning at St. Eithne's Park, with, from left, Bridie McCallion, Jean Walton, Bridie Elliott, Alex Bradley, Holy Family Parish, and Catriona Ferris, Illustrator. 0209JM03

Included with each book is a UV sun sensitive bracelet which tells the child wearing it when they should take protection from the sun. The bracelets were made by members of the local COSY Club.

Margaret, a community development officer with Habinteg Housing, is also a qualified nurse and has worked with Cancer Focus N.I. to help it raise awareness about the dangers of the sun.

The book is aimed at young children and Margaret used the medium of a children’s story to deliver the message of taking care in the sun.

“I based the characters of Sally and Sam on two of my children - my eldest daughter Claire-Marie and my youngest son Shaun - I think that anyone who knows them will see that it’s them from reading the book,” said Margaret.

For the last two years, Margaret has been delivering cancer awareness workshops in Groarty P.S., Holy Family P.S. and St. Eithne’s P.S. to school children in primary five and primary six.

“I wanted to do something that would appeal to younger children and what better way than to deliver the message of taking care in the sun than through a children’s story.”

One hundred copies of the book were published and if the project is successful then Margaret said she has hopes that Cancer Focus N.I. will adopt the book as part of its official literature for next year.

“If everything goes according to plan then I would hope that Cancer Focus N.I. would take and run with the book for next year.

“I got 100 copies of the book published and all the money raised from the sale of the book will go to Cancer Research, Cancer Focus N.I. and local breast cancer awareness group, The Pink Ladies.”

Catriona Ferris, (17), the book’s illustrator, said that working with her aunt was great fun and added that she was proud to be part of something that had such an important message.

“We had plenty of belly laughs putting the book together. We had to use two dolls when taking the photos for the book and we did that in Margaret’s back garden - I think the neighbours must have thought we were mad,” she said.

Michelle McLaren, Pink Ladies co-ordinator, described Margaret’s book as an important tool in the fight against skin cancer.

“It’s important that young children learn about the dangers of the sun at a young age and I think that Margaret’s book goes a long way in getting the message out there.”

For further information on ‘A Day In The Sun with Sally and Sam’ contact Margaret Cunningham by email at healthmattersfacilitator@gmail.com