Bluebell Wood’s multi-talented chef has swapped his spatula and frying pan for a pencil and paintbrush to create a children’s book about the adventures of a magical gargoyle.

John Wan, a firm favourite among families at Bluebell Wood, has been tantalising tastebuds at the hospice for almost 11 years. 

The chef, who’s wanted to adapt one of his many ideas into a fully-fledged book for years, finally found the time in lockdown to turn his dream into reality.

His first published book ‘Greenwich the Garden Gargoyle’ is out this week via Steel City Press and is available on Amazon, with £1 from each copy sold going to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

“I have always had a lot of stories in my head and I’ve wanted to do something with them for a long time, but I’ve never managed to find the time,” said John, from Rotherham.

“So when lockdown began it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

“I originally envisaged it as something that the care team at Bluebell Wood could read to the children who visit us, but after discussing it with the publishers we decided to make it a bit more universal.”

Greenwich the Garden Gargoyle centres around a gargoyle who’s struck by lightning and gains magical powers that enable him to talk to animals. The wise gargoyle offers advice to many of his animal friends, which is not always heeded, leading to hilarious and heart-warming adventures.

John adapted the story, which has been floating around in his head for many a year, with the help of his partner Kathryn Sharpe. He produced all the artwork himself and is delighted that the finished product will help families supported by Bluebell Wood.

“I’ve worked at the hospice for over 11 years and I see just how much of a difference we make to the lives of local children and families,” said John.

“To see the smiles and happy faces of families who are going through such tough times makes it all worthwhile. It really is a privilege to be a part of and that’s why I wanted to give something back.” 

As well as serving up tasty treats in Bluebell Wood’s kitchen, John has also run Tai Chi and Bonsai classes for parents and carers at the hospice for a number of years. While much of this is on hold through the pandemic, John’s raring to go when the time is right.

The chef also has plenty more stories up his sleeve, so watch this space.

Sam Wood, Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’ve always known John is a man of many talents and this really is the icing on the cake.

“John’s a fantastic and much-loved member of our team and we’re incredibly proud of him for what he’s achieved."

 “Each and every copy sold will help us to continue to help families make precious memories in the time they have together.”

Greenwich the Garden Gargoyle is available via Steel City Press here or on Amazon here