Caldecott steering group

We are the Caldecotters. We all live in Whitchurch. We are all inspired by Mr Caldecott. We want more people to be inspired by him to live their dreams and to laugh at his sketches and admire his drawings.

Our team of local people includes teachers, local business owners, people from the voluntary sector and children and young people.

We are building our crew and working  in partnership with other local groups to make the Caldecott Festival and this year’s events leading up to it really inspiring,  so we can smile at his work and be inspired by his courage and determination to live his dream.

Norma Raynes, Chairman

Norma is Social entrepreneur. She is Director of a charity called From Generation to Generation. Its purpose is to enrich the lives of children and young people and older retired adults by bringing them together to collaborate in their neighbourhood for their mutual benefit and have fun. Previously she was Professor of Social Care University of Salford, Research Dean Faculty of Health and Social Care, Director of the Faculty’s Institute for Health and Social Care Research and Chairman Trafford South Primary Care Trust. She has been a scientific advisor to the Government, a school governor in Junior and Secondary schools, and school teacher. She worked with the Quarantine Theatre Company in Manchester & Scotland. She worked in the USA at Harvard and MIT and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Centre for people with learning difficulties. She has written books and academic papers, stories for children and satirical theatre sketches.


Jane was born in the area over 70 years ago and grew up on the family dairy farm. She married Chas Bebbington in 1972 and they lived at Dearnford Hall where they ran a 500 acre successful arable enterprise. In 1990/91 they constructed Dearnford Lake alongside the new Whitchurch Bypass and diversified into Dearnford Lake Trout Fishery which ran for 13 years. Jane opened Dearnford Hall for Bed and Breakfast attracting visitors from across the globe and won many prestigious awards for Tourism. In 2007 they offered the lake for Weddings, Corporate events and private functions. Three years later the Bebbington Family launched Dearnford Lake Cafe alongside a wide range of outdoor leisure pursuits, ranging from Shakespeare productions, children’s storytelling and theatre, classic car rallies, UK Triathlons, Maize Maize, Firework Spectacular to open water swimming and  kayaking to monthly Car Boot and Collectors Fairs supporting many local charities. In 2016 the lake was relaunched under the new name of Alderford Lake.
Jane enjoys music and choral  singing and was a founder member of Border Singers (over 30 years ago) a local chamber choir who rehearse in Sir John Talbots School Whitchurch every Monday evening.


Helen Clarke is an outstanding teacher. She is the headmistress of the White House School, an independent School in Whitchurch. She has been at the school inspiring pupils, teachers and parents for 29 years. The motto of the school is Honour Wisdom. She is a well- known member of the local community and passionate about art and music. She is also very well informed about the history of our town and our inspiration, Randolph Caldecott


Ellen Edwin Scott ran the Young Company at London’s Unicorn Theatre from 2010 – 2015. She has directed and produced plays for young actors at Southwark Playhouses (where she was Education Director for 3 years), in schools and colleges, parks, and festivals, and on the decks of HMS Belfast!

Ellen was born and bred in rural Cheshire and returned to live in the area four years ago with her husband and three young children. She writes and tells stories for her local school and for local festivals, and is inspired by the history and landscape of her home.

Last year, Ellen was on the Playwright’s Programme at Liverpool Everyman where she finished her first full length play, ‘Getting somewhere’. The Everyman have continued to support Ellen’s work as a writer and director through their Scratch Events and their New Works department.

Nick Saxby

Nick’s background is in wildlife and ecology, having worked at wildlife sanctuaries and as a safari field guide in South Africa. He also has experience in ecotourism, having run a luxury safari lodge along with his wife. He came to Shropshire to teach animal science at a college in the county, and now lives in Whitchurch with his wife and his two children.

Nick is passionate about education, with experience teaching and lecturing for several years at institutions across the U.K… He is enthusiastic in providing opportunities for young people to learn new things, and gain valuable experiences.

He only recently discovered the work of Randolph Caldecott, but has found so much joy in exploring the art, and the local history with which it connects. Nick is committed to working for the benefit of the community he now calls home, and is excited to see the potential of the Caldecott festival realised.

Debbie Spier

An Employability Officer based at the Beechtree Centre in Whitchurch. I have a passion for community-led and inspired creative projects that engage people of all ages. I have become captivated by the extraordinary work and legacy of Randolph Caldecott and excited about sharing it with new readers.
I moved to Whitchurch from London where I worked in charity fundraising as a publishing officer and editor. I am a writer and avid reader and enjoy poetry and short fiction. I volunteer in the library as a reader at monthly Books Aloud sessions and take part in local poetry events, book groups and writing workshops. I am also an avid crafter and art maker with a particular interest in textiles and stitching.


Anna has lived in Whitchurch for 7 years and works for the NHS.  As a mum of four I have enjoyed discovering the delights of Randolph Caldecott’s work with my children.  His illustrations influenced the likes of Beatrix Potter and helped make children’s story books what they are today.  But his work is not just for children!  His artistic creativity and shrewd sense of humour are still relevant today and I’m pleased to be a part of bringing his talents to a wider audience


Hello, I’m Ruth Willard and I’m the new Intern. I have just finished my GCSEs and I start college in September. I play 2 musical instruments, the flute and the piano, both of which I have been playing for around 10 years. I also love to sing. I am working with the team to help progress The Caldecott Festival.