Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Vaila's Fund

Today, I’m glad to hand over the blog to my Murder Squad colleague Ann Cleeves, for a very worthwhile cause. Here’s Ann’s message:

‘I sometimes use real people's names in the Shetland books - a bit of fun and occasionally a way of thanking friends and people who've helped. In Raven Black, I mention the Harvey girls; one of the lead characters goes to their party. Appropriate I thought, because whenever we visited Liz and Paul and their daughters were home the house was full of people and laughter. Last year the youngest Harvey girl, Vaila, was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed that the illness had been treated and when I visited Shetland for Up Helly Aa, she was there watching the parade, cheerful and energetic. But on my next trip in May she was desperately ill in hospital in Aberdeen. It seemed that the whole of Shetland was holding its breath, willing her to get well. Unfortunately she died soon after. She was sixteen years old.

Her parents have decided to set up a fund in her memory, to allow Shetland young people to have the adventures Vaila would have enjoyed. Travel from Shetland can be complicated and expensive. Vaila's Fund would make it possible for a student of Vaila’s age to explore the world away from the islands. The fund will be administered by teachers from the Shetland High Schools and will be the best possible memorial for the young woman we, who knew her, already remember so fondly. To support the fund, I'm offering you the chance to have your name (or that of your friend or relative) in the fourth book in the Shetland quartet. Of course you'd get a signed first edition and an invitation to the launch party! The book will be published in the US and probably be translated into a dozen languages. Take part in the online auction and become a character in this popular series.

To take part in the auction, check out existing offers on my website: www.anncleeves.com, then email your bid to me using the form on Vaila's page. The website will be updated regularly. The auction closes at midnight on Sunday March 8th and the winning name will be announced at the Shetland launch of Red Bones in Lerwick Library on Tuesday March 10th.’


Roger Cornwell said...

Thanks for your boost for this. The auction has got off to a flying start and the current top bid is £300, and we hope to go higher. You can always check out the latest bids (and bid yourself of course) by visiting www.anncleeves.com/vaila.html

Martin Edwards said...

Good news, Roger. I never knew Vaila, but the story is a really sad one.