WHAT a birthday party for a 10 year-old.  A party that lasted almost all day and involved famous authors and even the Gruffalo. 

The party was for The Bookery’s 10th birthday.  The Crediton bookshop became community owned in 2013, has more than 300 shareholders and in 2016 moved to its present home in a Grade II listed building on Crediton High Street. 

It is a not-for-profit bookshop that hosts a range of events and actively pioneers programmes supporting literacy, community well-being and access to cultural and learning opportunities. 

It is the only community-owned bookshop in the Exeter and Mid Devon area.

Saturday, June 17, the beginning of Independent Bookshop Week, was party day, also celebrating the unveiling of The Bookery’s extension.

This extension joins the shop with the Work Hub up the stairs at the back of the shop, or along the passageway from the High Street.

This was mainly funded by the League of Friends of Crediton Hospital and Its Community Patients.  

The League chairman, Louise Adams, with secretary Pat Beetlestone and treasurer Keith Beetlestone were at the official opening with League committee member, Rob Meylan. 

The day had begun in the morning with poet Kev Payne and author Hannah Foley, then a book launch with author and illustrator Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.

In the afternoon Sir Michael Morpurgo cut the special The Bookery ribbon across the stairs to the extension at the back of the shop with the help of three years-old Quinton Cook and eight years-old Cora Whitehouse. 

Michael said how extraordinary The Bookery was and how unbelievable was its achievement and the way it was serving the community and spreading an enthusiasm for books.  

It was a lively shop that was about knowledge and fulfilment  and understanding.   It was there for children to go in, pick up a book and begin reading. 

Later Michael was in the Congregational Church sharing his new book “My Heart Was A Tree”.  He was introduced by The Bookery manager Dee Lalljee, who spoke of the honour of having Michael Morpurgo there on such a special day.

She also thanked Patrons Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve and the Friends of the Hospital.

“As a not-for-profit, community-owned bookshop, every book and ticket you buy with us directly contributes to events and activities in Crediton,” she said.

“Every book bought at our bookshop enables us to engage with people living in Crediton - children and adults - who might not otherwise be able to access books and the worlds they can open up. 

“Michael was one of the first people who believed in us; he saw what we were, rather ambitiously, trying to achieve,” she said. 

Michael said how people realised that in the heart of Devon extraordinary things go on.

This brought applause and cheers from his audience.

Later in the day there was a showing of Philip and Sarah’s film “Gwenevere”, home-made on Dartmoor by them, and then the birthday party opened up with music by flautist Hebe and, in the Work Hub, by Clifford with his hand drum, canapes by Baobab and drinks on offer.  

The Work Hub is a large and airy space that would suit all types of businesses as a practical and nice place to work, available to hire by the hour, day or more. 

It has ultra fast broadband, storage lockers, a meeting room, shared kitchen and social areas.  It is available for small meetings or presentations or individuals to hire.  Call at The Bookery for information. 

Last year The Bookery was overall winner of the Independent Bookshop of the Year award. 

Dee said then: “It feels like a real recognition of the work we do in rural Devon; getting books into the hands of hundreds of children, working with isolated and elderly people, and championing books and authors.”