West Kirby writer Charlie Lea to tell tales at Liverpool Cathedral sleep-out

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West Kirby writer Charlie Lea is working on two new children’s stories which he will be delivering to a late night audience at Liverpool Cathedral next month.

Charlie will be spinning his yarns to a gathering of 350 children and adults who are taking part in a charity sleep-out in the well of the cathedral on the night of Saturday April 2.

Billed as a “jammies and jigsaws adventure”, the event is aimed at raising funds for Liverpool’s leading homelessness charity, the Whitechapel Centre, and for funds to help repair the cathedral’s roof. It will also build awareness for young people of the difficulties homeless people face.

Groups of youngsters, who have to be under the supervision of someone over 18, are bringing puzzles and their favourite pyjamas, and can bring sleeping bags or even cardboard boxes to sleep in to replicate the real conditions in which people have to sleep rough. There will be a prize for the best den.

Cath and Ed, the cathedral sleep out characters
Cath and Ed, the cathedral sleep out characters

Charlie is basing his first story on cathedral children’s characters Cath and Ed. “They get locked in the cathedral, and a new character called Ral has to try to save them,” he explained.

“We will let the children imagine who Ral is and draw pictures of how they see Ral.”

His second story is about the famous bronze mouse, cunningly concealed on the tomb of the 16th Earl of Derby, which thousands of tourists hunt for when they visit the cathedral.

Said Charlie: “I saw an advert on Facebook about the event and I thought it would be nice to do storytelling there. I approached the Whitechapel Centre and they said yes.

Liverpool Cathedral: setting for the charity sleep-out
Liverpool Cathedral: setting for the charity sleep-out

“They will be playful, bespoke stories – but there will be no ghosts. The cathedral is quite a scary place at night as it is!”

Charlie, 44, is a lawyer by profession, but now works just two days a week doing litigation at a Liverpool city centre firm, while devoting most of his attention to his writing and his creative writing workshops.

He runs two after-school writing workshops every week, and is aiming to start a third in Heswall soon. He is also writing a children’s book, and teaches creative writing and story-telling to home educated children.

Married to Pippa, the marketing manager at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion, Charlie has an 11 year-old daughter, Evie, who will be joining him on the sleep out, and a dog called Dylan.

The well of the cathedral, where the children will spend their sleep-out
The well of the cathedral, where the children will spend their sleep-out

He decided to ease himself out of the legal profession after changes in legal aid started to put pressure on law firms around the UK.

“It was very stressful, and everyone was affected by it,” he says. “I knew I had to get out, but what could I do?

“Law is a people industry, and dealing with people is a transferrable skill. I’ve always liked reading and writing so I wanted to give something back.

“I love going to my creative writing workshops because you never know what the children will say. They are a bit crazy sometimes, but that is what makes them fun.”

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