Tuesday, July 12, 2011


What does www. stand for? In this case it is Wareham Westerman Weekend.

Westerman Yarns is working with a very enthusuastic team of Wareham based organisations who are planning the towns first celebration of the life and works of their famous past resident, Percy F. Westerman. Time for a Westerman party!

Below is the first press release outling the early plans.

Wareham is busy making plans to celebrate the life and works of an, until now, overlooked famous, past resident. Children’s adventure book writer, and arguably, the originator of the ‘Ripping Yarns’ genre, Percy F Westerman, spent many years living the idyllic life on his houseboat ‘The Barge,’ moored by the towpath at Redclyffe, close to Wareham. It was from this converted Thames Barge that he penned more than 120 of his 174 published books.

The Wareham Westerman Weekend on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th October, 2011, is being organised through a collaboration between Wareham Library, Purbeck Information & Heritage Centre, Wareham Town Council, and a host of other organisations and individuals, all keen to raise awareness of this remarkable author whose lasting gift to Wareham was the founding of the Redclyffe Yacht Club in 1933, with both Percy and his author son John having been past Commodores of the club.

A detailed programme will be available soon, but will include children’s pirate parade, make and race a model raft, a treasure hunt, a colouring competition and a live music event. An exhibition exploring Percy F. Westerman’s links with Wareham and a display of books from the Wareham Library reference collection, donated by the Redclyffe Yacht Club will be a key feature of the weekend along with an illustrated talk and a reminiscence project. Jude Leyman, Library Manager said “We are very excited about the weekend and an opportunity to raise awareness of this prominent children’s writer whose contribution to the literary heritage of Wareham should be celebrated by the town that he loved so much. The special collection of his books is an important feature of our reference collection here at Wareham Library”. Liz Roberts, Centre Manager said “We are delighted to be involved in the project and will be jointly organising a series of events of the weekend with our colleagues in Wareham Library”.

His stories covered tales of the sea, scouting, flying machines, deeds of derring-do, mysteries, two world wars, tales from history and much, much, more. Titles included The Scouts of Seal Island, The Bulldog Breed, Fighting for Freedom and The Flying Submarine. These gripping stories fired the imagination of generations of young readers encouraging a love of books and reading to remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Percy’s first book A Lad of Grit was published in 1908. During the 1930’s Percy was voted the ‘Most Popular Boys Author’ in a poll sponsored by a national newspaper and organised through public libraries. By his death on February 22 1959 his books had been published in many languages and had sold in excess of 1.5 million books worldwide.