Marra the dolphin’s a tweenie-tots story

Published: May 15, 2006 | 4142nd good news item since 2003

THE magical story of Marra the dolphin and his time in Maryport marina is to be turned into a children’s book.

Gordon Volke, who has written 44 stories for The Tweenies television series, took time out from writing scripts for the latest Thomas the Tank Engine TV run to pen the tale.

Illustrations are by Whitehaven-born commercial artist Malcolm Little, who has lived in Carlisle for more than 50 years.

Malcolm, 56, of Wood Street, Botcherby, initially drew a series of pencil sketches. They were later loaded onto a computer and digitally enhanced with colour and backgrounds.

He said: “I knew about the Marra story from what was in the local papers and on television. I didn’t go to see him but I’m sure when I was a boy there was a story about a porpoise in Silloth docks – that was a long time ago.

“It’s nice to be involved in something like this that can be passed down. It could end up on Antiques Roadshow one day, you never know.”

Marra the Maryport Dolphin – One Giant Leap For Freedom will have an initial limited edition run of 1,000 copies.

A signing ceremony and launch party is being planned for Saturday June 3 at the Lake District Coast Aquarium, yards from the marina where Marra made his temporary home in December.

Maryport’s town centre manager Denise Smalley came up with the idea for the book.

She said: “I wanted something of a lasting memory and thought an exhibition would eventually get tired.

“Also, Marra’s visit really meant a lot to the children and adults of the town. It is something that they may never see again. I want them to have something they can eventually show their own children and describe the day they went down to the marina to see the dolphin.

“It was strange how it all came together.

“I’d been talking about the book but really had do idea how to put one together.

“Then he called me to say that stories like Marra’s were his bread and butter.”

Marra the Maryport Dolphin – One Giant Leap For Freedom will be sold for £5.99.

Meanwhile, Marra has returned to the west Cumbrian coast and has been seen out at sea near Maryport and Silloth. He was captured on camera by volunteers on Workington lifeboat last week.

Trevor Weeks is from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organisation which helped co-ordinate Marra’s dramatic safe return to the Irish Sea at the end of January.

This week he urged observers not to get too close to Marra.

Conservationists have also received reports of stones being thrown at the mammal.

Mr Weeks said: “Our biggest concern is that Marra could become a humanised dolphin which would not be good for it.

“We want people to enjoy Marra as a wild, natural dolphin.”

n After the launch party copies of the book will be available from the aquarium, Regeneration Maryport offices nearby and Maryport bookstore ‘Time To…’

Published in Animals, Rescues
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