A former Co Down school principal has channelled grief into creativity, writing a children’s book in memory of his late wife.
Colin Millar, MBE was the principal of Killard House School in Donaghadee before his retirement in 2020.
His touching new book ‘Clever Little Duckling’ has been penned as a heartfelt tribute to his wife Claire, who passed away six years ago after bravely battling cancer.
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Colin has decided to donate proceeds from the book to the Macmillan Cancer Unit at the Ulster Hospital where his wife received care.
Colin said: “Claire, who was a primary school teacher, was treated in the Unit in 2016, but sadly passed away in 2017.
“The care that nursing staff provided during her cancer journey was incredible. Everyone was so warm and caring.
“Claire’s named nurse at the time was a pupil that she had taught previously in Primary 2. This meant the world to Claire during an incredibly difficult time.”
Colin wanted to give something back to the Unit, to thank staff for the wonderful care that Claire received.
Claire loved reading, especially to her pupils, so Colin decided to write the ‘Clever Little Duckling’, a poignant tribute to his beloved wife, which would also help a very worthy cause.
In the heart-warming tale, the ‘Clever Little Duckling’ is a journey to a charming tiny little farm nestled beside the enchanting Whitethorn Forest where Colly the Duckling and his loving family reside.
Among his siblings, Watty and Irenie, Colly stands out with his unique trait, he wears dark sunglasses as he is blind.
Convinced that his blindness limits him, Colly believes he lacks any special gift or talent.
However, destiny takes a surprising turn when the ducklings venture into the depths of the forest. It is within this mystical realm that Colly uncovers a hidden gift that will forever change his perception of himself and his place in this world.
This story of Colly on his awe-inspiring journey, discovers the extraordinary gift that lies within, shattering the barriers imposed by his blindness.
Reflecting on Claire’s journey, Colin said: “It was an extremely stressful time for Claire to go to a Cancer Unit.
“Seeing her previous pupil in the Unit and so many other friendly faces, made her time in the unit special. The nurse said to her ‘Now it’s my time to look after you, Mrs Millar’ That meant so much to Claire during her battle.
“My background is special education and I was formerly Principal of Killard School in Newtownards. The children there were amazing, despite whatever their difficulty was.
He continued: “They never let that stop them from doing what they wanted. I came up with the idea of three little ducklings on a farm, one of them had a special need which worked out to be their saving grace, so that is how the Clever Little Duckling was born!
“I am hoping the sales of the book will go well to help other patients receiving treatment. The book represents Claire, continuing the work she loved to do, reading stories to children.”
Macmillan Cancer Unit Ward Manager, Angela Berry thanked Colin for thinking about the Unit.
She said: “What Colin is doing in memory of his wife Claire and helping the Unit is just wonderful.
“This this book will be the gift that keeps on giving. Especially at this time of year with Christmas just around the corner, this is such a lovely story and would make a great present for children.”
‘Clever Little Duckling’ is available to purchase on Amazon.co.uk
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