Griff Rhys Jones joins star-studded storytellers at Pin Mill marathon reading of children’s book

Griff Rhys Jones took part in a marathon reading of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea at The Club House, P

Griff Rhys Jones took part in a marathon reading of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea at The Club House, Pin Mill. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

A children’s book set along the banks of the river Orwell was brought to life during a marathon reading hosted at a Suffolk sailing club marking 80 years since it was published.

Griff Rhys Jones with Dan Houston at the We Didn't Mean to go to Sea reading marathon. Picture: NIGE

Griff Rhys Jones with Dan Houston at the We Didn't Mean to go to Sea reading marathon. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

Comedian and television presenter Griff Rhys Jones was among a number of big names who read aloud chapters of We Didn’t Mean to Go To Sea by Arthur Ransome at Pin Mill over the weekend.

Organised by Peter Willis, president of the Nancy Blackett Trust, the event lasted for almost nine hours and saw dozens of readers and audience members come together at Pin Mill Sailing Club to mark the anniversary.

We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea, the seventh book in the Swallows and Amazons series, follows the Walker family as they manage to drift downstream from Felixstowe and Harwich into the North Sea.

Mr Willis said: “The reading went very well indeed. The idea was that different people read specific chapters aloud.

Marathon reading of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea at Pin Mill Sailing Club. Pictured is Eric Maddison.

Marathon reading of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea at Pin Mill Sailing Club. Pictured is Eric Maddison. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


“We had nearly 40 readers to handle 27 chapters so some of them had to split a chapter between them.

“Griff Rhys Jones, Libby Purves, Francis Wheen and Julia Jones were some of the more famous faces that came along.

Most Read

“The reading started promptly at 9am and we did overrun by quite a bit, it finished at about 6pm or so.

“We had quite a crowd for the more famous readers but overall throughout the day we had about 30 to 40 people in the audience watching.”

Griff Rhys Jones took part in a marathon reading of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea at The Club House, P

Griff Rhys Jones took part in a marathon reading of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea at The Club House, Pin Mill. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

He added: “We also projected illustrations from the book onto a wall at the sailing club which really brought the book to life, I thought that was quite amazing.

“There were also four first editions brought along, which was quite something – we were celebrating 80 years since it was first published, after all.”

The marathon reading rounded off a bumper summer of events marking 50 years since the death of the popular children’s author.

Kicking off the Arthur Ransome East Coast Celebrations was the Pin Mill Jamboree on May 13 – complete with a vintage cinema, swing boats and brand new studio photographs.

A HMS Ganges Children’s Party was hosted at the Bristol Arms in Shotley a few weeks later, schools took part in a sea shanty finale at Woolverstone Hall on June 22 and outdoor film screenings were hosted at Suffolk Food Hall throughout the summer holidays.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter