A GILLINGHAM “granny” has written a book inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic and her granddaughter.

At the beginning of lockdown Anne Kings, known as Granny Annie, called her granddaughter Bella every night before bed, who was struggling to cope emotionally through the pandemic.

Together the pair made up a list of ‘26 Happy Words’ by working through the alphabet from A to Z, deciding a new word every night.

26 days later the phone calls continued with story ideas, and it wasn’t long before Anne’s book ‘Button Cottage Lockdown’ was born.

Anne used the 26 words selected by her and Bella to bring the tale to life, and hopes the book will help support other children through the Covid-19 crisis.

“What started as a simple idea to help Bella has blossomed into a memory of lockdown that I will cherish forever,” said Anne.

The story follows the world of the Sticky family, their pets and regular wildlife visitors in the garden.

During the story the animals and birds, described as “the real characters in the story” with “infectious personalities” throw a party celebrating the NHS and Captain Tom Moore.

Around 100 copies had been delivered to Anne at the end of June, which sold out within a week.

The 73-year-old said the response to her creation has been “amazing”, adding: “When I shared the story with friends, I had really positive feedback that it engaged with everyone from four to 94 [years-old]. I was encouraged to print it into a simple book format to share with others.

“I placed another order for 200 which arrived last week, and in that week W H Smith in Shaftesbury [started] selling them, and Waitrose invited me to do a book signing.

“I have lost count of the number of books which I have posted out all over the UK, and I have already started getting repeat orders.”

During a book signing session in Waitrose on Friday, Anne sold a further 44 copies of ‘Button Cottage Lockdown’, with donations going to Julia’s House.

The event was also attended by the story’s illustrator Shireen Brickell and mayor of Gillingham, Barry Von Clemens.

Anne said despite social distancing measures, it was “a weird but lovely morning”.

She added: “Any profits from donations for the book are going to support Julia’s House, a local children’s hospice charity in Dorset and Wiltshire.”