Thomas the Tank engine had better watch out – he has a new rival in Beryl the Beetle! The new children’s book by Dorchester author Jayne Reed hit the shops just before Christmas, and is already proving a big seller.


Author Jayne Reed hard at work on her next book

Based on the car restoration business of Jayne’s late father, the book tells the story of how Ernie the Paintshop Man finds the rusting remains of Beryl languishing in the woods near his workshop.

He and his son Norman put many months of hard work into returning her to pristine condition, and she duly wins first prize at a classic car show.

Ernie Manning specialised in restoring VWs – many in little better shape than Beryl – at his garage at Matchams, near Ringwood. Sadly, Ernie died of lung cancer a few years ago, and the book’s proceeds will go to Marie Curie, whose nurses did so much to help him in his final days.

“I wanted to do this as a tribute to Dad, and help raise money for Marie Curie,” said Jayne, who works as a principal teaching assistant working with special needs children at Sir John Colfox School in Bridport. “I’m amazed and thrilled by the fantastic response the book has had.”

Now Jayne, who used to work at Wool CE Primary School before moving to her current job, is hard at work on the next book in the series.

Beryl the Beetle is available from Waterstone’s and WH Smith’s in Dorchester, priced £9.99, and from Amazon. Find out more by visiting

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