How King Pickle plans to help the NHS

For generations, pupils at Abberley Hall School have gazed up at the imposing Clock Tower in the grounds and wondered what secrets lay behind its walls.

But now they need wonder no more - because one of the school’s pupils has written a book about the fantastic characters that live in and around the tower - and has had it published to raise money for the NHS.

The Magical Clock Tower has been penned by 13-year-old Neeko Hewson, who has been dreaming of writing a children’s story since she was nine, but thought it was beyond her due to living with dyslexia and dyscalculia.

She says she has developed her confidence as a writer and reader through the process of making the book and hopes that, as well as raising money for charity, it will inspire others to overcome their insecurities and work through ways to combat learning difficulties.

She said: “I’ve wanted to write a book to tell other children for a long time. When I first started at Abberley Hall I always used to wonder what was behind the door of the Clock Tower. It used to feel so mysterious when I was younger. I thought it must be the hiding place for something - why else would there be a door there?

“All pupils at Abberley Hall sense there is something magical about the Clock Tower. There are lots of stories about ghosts that get told in the dormitories, so that’s why I chose the Clock Tower as the setting for my book.”

As Neeko developed her idea she created a storyboard - and then Covid-19 struck. Undeterred, Neeko used lockdown to work harder on her project to develop her characters and magical lands.

She said: “I’m so pleased it's been published and that it will help raise money for the NHS through NHS Charities Together.”

The Magical Clock Tower tells the story of Nova, the headstrong daughter of a doctor and nurse, who is about to go to boarding school for the first time. Very quickly, she finds herself at the start of a magical adventure with her friend Ali and meets characters including King Pickle, Queen Jam Tart, Galaxy the horse and The Stag.

Neeko and her family have donated a copy of the book to each pupil and member of staff at Abberley Hall and encouraged donations to be made to NHS Charities Together.

Jonnie Besley, Headmaster at the school, said: “We are so proud of Neeko, both for creating a wonderful book with a great story and great characters, and for choosing to donate proceeds to NHS Charities Together. We wish her every success with it - and it will only add to the mystery of what lies behind the door of our famous Clock Tower.”

So does Neeko have any more books up her sleeve?

“I might be able to do a sequel set at senior school when I start there, but I’m not sure if I want to make it a career - it’s more of a hobby at the moment,” she said.

To find out more about the book, or to buy a copy, visit

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