Oban postbox’s famous author link

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Sharp-eyed residents of Oban have been checking out a very special postbox – the only one of its type in Scotland and one of only five in the UK.

Situated on Argyll Street outside Chalmers, it was magically decorated to honour World Book Day on Thursday March 4, and will remain so until the end of March.

The special post box will only be decorated in this way for a month

It is to honour the town’s link with Cressida Cowell MBE, the much-loved children’s author and current Children’s Laureate for book retailer Waterstones.

Cressida, aged 54, wrote the book How To Train Your Dragon which went on to become a popular film and TV franchise after its publication in 2003.

Cressida spent many childhood holidays in the Inner Hebrides – particularly on the small, uninhabited island of Little Colonsay, off the Isle of Mull.

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Cast away far from television, electricity and telephones, her young imagination was fired by her father’s stories of historic Viking invasions and mythical dragons of the islands.

The postbox features a photograph of Cressida aged just nine – already studiously scribbling away on the island and inspired by her surroundings.

For the more techno-minded, the postbox includes a QR code for people to find out more about the author’s work online.

World Book Day

The postbox in Oban is one of only five UK-wide marking places of significance to writers or their work. The others are in London, Cardiff, Sheffield and Belfast.

Featuring a bright gold top and characters Hiccup the Viking and toothless the dragon, the postbox caught the eye of passing Rockfield Primary School teacher Fiona Cameron, and partner Finlay Carmichael, who were out for a stroll.

Fiona said: ‘I read How To Train Your Dragon in school with my primary four pupils last year. It’s a very creative book for children. The story is so well written and it’s really easy to picture. The way it is described you can tell that it’s based on an island. It’s not a picture book – but it’s really easy to come up with tasks for children.’

Passersby Rae McGarry and Maggie Dera check out the post box on World Book Day.

Passersby Rae McGarry and Elspeth Norris, of Oban, also had a closer look and declared it a ‘brilliant idea’. They said they too had been impressed with the postbox in Oban decorated to mark Valentine’s Day – complete with a knitted hat with love hearts.

The postbox also got the attention of Oban-based English teacher Maggie Dera, of Argyll College UHI.

Maggie said it was a great idea to inspire young people to have an interest in literature.

She said reading was something she always strongly encouraged and it was so important at helping to boost children’s confidence.