Personal Best

Guernsey and Alderney Sports Stories for Kids

Tom Palmer writes books for children that are both about sport and about children facing challenges.

Writing Personal Best was a challenge for him: it was about sports he knew little of and a place he had never visited before. The children and adults of Guernsey and Alderney helped him overcome those challenges. He is very grateful.

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Foreword

These stories are the result of careful collaboration between the author, Tom Palmer and a large number of young people and adults on both Alderney and Guernsey. To kick off the writing process, Tom visited all of Guernsey’s High Schools and St Anne’s School in Alderney. There he met with groups of Year 7s to discuss possible storylines. From these meetings grew the twelve stories.

These are very much Bailiwick stories. Tom talked to many people during his visits to find out about Guernsey stories, customs and folklore. He toured the island looking for suitable settings. He talked to local sports people to get their insights. He absorbed the essence of living on an island. All of these experiences were then distilled in his writing.

But the resulting stories were only the first draft. There was still much work to be done. Local young people then read the stories and contributed additional ideas for the re-draft. New details were added to intensify the Guernsey and Alderney atmosphere of the writing. Fresh ideas were suggested to add realism to the stories that feature less conventional sports. An illustration workshop was held, organised by local artist, Hugh Rose. Guernsey Sports Commission’s Jeremy Frith read the stories to ensure that they modelled the island’s teaching on Growth Mindset. And finally the text was locally proofread and printed.

I hope you enjoy these stories. They have been born out of the grass and granite of these islands. They embody and exemplify many vital messages that will stay with you. Read them on your own, discuss them with others and think about what they tell you about being successful in our island communities and the world at large. Enjoy!

Steve Willshaw, editor and Education Development Officer


Stories

Each of the twelve stories in this book are based in different locations around Guernsey and Alderney

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The Last Day of Summer


Four children cycled away from the St Peter Port bathing pools, past the underground military museum and the Half Moon Café on the corner. It was the first day of the summer holidays...

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Tackling Life


It happened the night before his first day at secondary school. Josh was in his bedroom, staring out of the window, wishing he was going back to his primary school, where he knew everyone and everyone knew him...

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The Rock Jumper


Lucas and Harry had been out coasteering all day. They were obsessed. Ever since they’d persuaded their parents to get them wetsuits, they had spent every minute in the water, scrambling up rock faces, swimming round coves and their favourite bit: jumping off the rocks into the sea...

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Stowaway


‘Are you all set for the weekend, then?’ Jess asked.

‘Yeah,’ Matt replied. ‘But it’s not going to be easy.’

‘No,’ Finn echoed. ‘It’s not.’

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The Positions


Maddie sat staring stone-faced out of the car window as her mum drove her along the winding streets of the outskirts of St Peter Port. But inside she felt angry and anxious and sick to her stomach...

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Puffins in Peril!


Scarlett moved seven toy puffins off her bed and invited her friends – Amelia and Skye – to sit down.

Next, she powered up her laptop and deftly keyed in her password, pUff1Nz. Immediately, the Burhou Puffin Cam webpage came up...

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Tacticci Muratti


Davy sat on top of Mount Hale as the first match of the Muratti kicked off. He had a brilliant view of the pitch and of the whole harbour side of the island. Directly across from him was Fort Albert, and to his left was the magnificent harbour, not yet teeming with the boats that poured into moorings for the summer...

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The Last Hijacker


Mid-afternoon in Guernsey and a giant tourist ship is casting a shadow over St Peter Port.

No wind. The heat of the day fading. Dry conditions.

Perfect...

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How to Win


Rory and Jago squinted as the sun skimmed in off the surface of the sea in Cobo Bay. Even though it was September, the weather was still perfect. Warm air. A slight breeze. The sea and sky spectacular shades of blue...

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Hitting the Canvas


Vincent stepped back from his canvas and looked at it properly for the first time. He put his hand to his face, rubbed his chin and squinted.

Then he smiled.

His heart started pounding...

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Time to Kill


Straight after school I was ready to do it. I’d been working it though in my head, planning it.

It would be slow.

It would be painful.

It would be fun.

And, now, it was time...

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You’re the Ref


‘IT’S A CORNER.’

You shake your head and point to the goal mouth.

‘It’s a bloody corner, you IDIOT!’

It’s a man that is shouting. A tall athletic man wearing a tracksuit. He looks like a footballer himself...

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Tom Palmer talks about Personal Best

What Our Readers Are Saying

We always talk about sport giving people both young and old a focus and how it can help them deal with some, if not all, of life's issues and what it throws at them. Reading Tackling Life shows exactly how powerful sport, in this case rugby, can be to a young man dealing with a disruptive home-life. Every coach, in whatever sport, should read these stories and realise how much their positive work can influence people, children in particular.


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Steve Melbourne MBE

Guernsey Rugby Development Officer, Guernsey Sports Commission

I think this is a fantastic idea and hope that children (and parents) will have their imaginations captured by the inspiring stories as much as mine was.  As a keen supporter and follower of the game, I particularly enjoyed Tacticci Muratti, although being a proud Guernseyman, I did not like reading about us losing out to Alderney and Jersey!

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Tony Vance

Manager, Guernsey FC

I think the stories are a fantastic way to encourage children to read.  With sport being a huge pastime in Guernsey they will recognise the characters and locations mentioned and will enjoy reading about something familiar to them.  When you are younger you do not realise the importance of literacy. I now read as a way to relax between my busy racing and training schedules.

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Tobyn Horton

Guernsey-born professional cyclist with Madison-Genesis Team

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About the Author

author

Tom Palmer


Tom Palmer writes books for children that are both about sport and about children facing challenges.

Writing Personal Best was a challenge for him: it was about sports he knew little of and a place he had never visited before. The children and adults of Guernsey and Alderney helped him overcome those challenges. He is very grateful.

You can find out more about Tom at tompalmer.co.uk.

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