Len Bower, one of our residents at Headingley Hall, was a hugely talented man. His life has seen him experience many things.

Prior to being called up in World War 2, Len had trained as a book illustrator at Leeds College of Art (now Leeds Arts University). But war intervened and his skills turned to training fighter pilots in the RAF. His commanding officer spotted and encouraged his teaching ability and on his return to Leeds he completed his training and secured the post of art master at Batley Grammar School.

As Len continued his teaching career, moving onto become a tutor at Leeds Arts University, his daughter Jane Bower was being inspired by her creative parents. Amongst other creative outlets, when Jane became a teacher herself, she penned a book about a character - that happened to be a bead.

Jane had been fascinated by writing challenges such as ‘A Day in the Life of a Teaspoon’ and had started to think about other objects – what would they think, feel or do? And so ‘Thread and Thrum’ came to life. ‘Thread and thrum’ is an old phrase meaning the good and the bad together, and the story follows the bead Wheatear’s journey on a humorous yet scary pilgrimage within the bead box.

Jane’s Dad played a key role by creating beautiful fine line illustrations to bring the book to life. However, Jane’s teaching career got in the way of focusing on the book until Covid hit and created some time, forty years later, to seek a publisher.

As her Dad turned 100 on 5 June 2020 Jane was busy preparing the book for publication. Her father Len was delighted that the book – and all his illustrations – would at last be seen and enjoyed by many. Len’s sight was failing due to Macular Degeneration but on 22 December 2020 the book was published, and Len took receipt of his own copy on Christmas Day at Headingley Hall. Jane was so happy that even with his failing eyesight he could still just about make out some of the darker illustrations he had created all those years ago.

Len sadly passed away on 4 January 2021, but his creative talent lives on in Jane’s book which is now available for sale on Amazon.

Suitable for age 7 to adult, this is an exciting and imaginative story designed to be read aloud in schools, read alone, or in book groups, and includes discussion points.

30% of sales goes to the Macular Society, which researches the disease which caused her Dad’s blindness.

You can purchase on Amazon:
Paperback Print:           £7.37 / Kindle edition:               £2.39
Click here to be re-directed to purchase on Amazon

Or it can be ordered by your local independent bookshop using this ISBN number: 978-1-9997523-2-3.

Jane also has some copies available, which she is happy to sign. Price £6.99 plus £1.99 postage from jane-bower@ntlworld.com . By purchasing through Jane, slightly more money goes to the Macular Society.
"What can I say about all the staff at Headingley Hall? They are the kindest, most caring, compassionate and loving people I know. Mum and Dad have both been unwell recently and the kindness and care that has been shown to both of them from everyone at the home have been fantastic. They are amazing people going above and beyond to get Dad who has been in hospital back home to Mum. You are all truly inspirational. Simply the best."
Family Member of Resident at Headingley Hall