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Book launch is a dream come true for Hayley

Hayley Buxton, a gifted artist supported by Brandon, took her first step towards her dream of becoming a famous illustrator of children’s books as she launched her very own published book ‘A Perfect Friend for Jim’ at Weston Museum last night.

Hayley, 23, has been spending three days a week at our social enterprise Banwell Pottery since 2016. During this time, supported by the talented Banwell team, she has truly flourished, gaining confidence and skills, as well as the opportunity to exhibit and sell her work.

‘A Perfect Friend for Jim’ covers issues that others, particularly those with autism, may encounter while trying to find a suitable friend. Featuring Hayley’s beautiful acrylic paintings and wording transcribed from her descriptions, the book tells the story of Jim, a blue deer, as he wanders through the forest to find his perfect companion amongst an array of fantasy creatures.

Hayley told us “I really wanted this beautiful story book to be made. It is the first time I've ever been an illustrator like my favourite illustrator Quentin Blake. I think it's going to be amazing, if the children really like it, it's fine with me!"

A Perfect Friend for Jim - cakeThe launch was an great success, with over 75 books being sold during the event. Guests included Hayley’s family and friends, Brandon staff and volunteers, and the Mayor & Mayoress of Weston-super-Mare.

Banwell support worker Naomi Sim has worked closely with Hayley throughout the project. Naomi said “We really hope this book shows the importance of making sure those who often aren't in the limelight have the opportunity to tell their stories and show their skills. It's been an incredible journey to be a part of, Hayley is a true inspiration.”

Huge congratulations to Hayley and the team at Banwell for this fantastic achievement, we're sure it's just the beginning of something amazing! Thank you also to our HQ receptionist Wendy for the wonderful cake.

If you’d like to pick up your own copy of ‘A Friend for Jim’, Hayley’s next book signing and mini-exhibition will be taking place on Saturday 28 July at our Whiteladies Road charity shop between 16.00 – 18.00.

Hayley’s dream has been realised thanks to money generously donated by supporters to our Dream Fund. If you'd like to help even more of the people we support to achieve their dreams, visit out Dream Fund page to find out more.