Grandchildren inspire Carluke woman's new book

Looking after children has always been something Margaret Kilgallon has loved – both her own brood of five and thousands of others too!

Cameron and Myla inspired their gran Margaret Kilgallon to write her latest book.
Cameron and Myla inspired their gran Margaret Kilgallon to write her latest book.

For the last 28 years, Margaret has been the proud owner and manager of Riverside Nursery in Carluke.

She and her husband John, who was station officer at Lanark Fire Station before he retired, celebrated their 70th birthdays this year, as well as their Golden Wedding anniversary on June 5; they were married at St Joseph’s Church in Tollcross, Glasgow, in 1971.

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The couple met while they were on holiday in Blackpool and John later moved up to Scotland to be with Margaret.

They then settled in Carluke where they brought up their five children – Damien (49), Christopher (48), Vincent (45), Margaret Louise (38) and Emma Jane (27). They now have 16 grandchildren too!

The couple also fostered a number of children before Margaret decided to do a degree in nursery nursing.

After qualifying, she set up St John’s Mothers’ and Toddlers’ Group before deciding to run her own nursery.

She has since looked after thousands of young charges who have been entrusted to her care at Riverside.

Arguably, the last year has posed more challenges than most. And it was with heavy heart that Margaret heard two of her grandchildren, four-year-olds Myla and Cameron, discuss their fears about the pandemic.

That night, Margaret went home and penned a story in a bid to quell their fears about “bad Covid”; it was later discarded in a drawer where a number of other children’s stories had long languished.

However, Myla’s mum Emma Jane was so taken with the book that she sent it to several publishers – and the very first one, Olympia, agreed to have it published as part of the Bumblebee series.

Margaret can’t quite believe that the book, Myla, Cameron and Covid, is now on WH Smith’s book shelves.

She said: “I thought it was a real shame when I heard the wee ones saying how scared they were of Covid. It’s been difficult for them to understand what’s going on.

"So I went home that night and wrote the book; it was the quickest one I’ve ever written.

"Emma Jane decided to send it off and I couldn’t believe it when the publisher came back to us.

"It’s nice to be able to do something to help children through what has been a tough time – turning a negative into a positive.”

The book is available now, priced £4.99, and Margaret will be doing a signing at Riverside Nursery at 1 Lanark Road tomorrow (Thursday), just after 10am.

She said: “The nursery children already love the book and have been asking me to sign it, as have Myla and Cameron. I think they’ve asked for it just in case I become the next JK Rowling!

"I thought it would be nice to have a wee signing at the nursery so that local parents could come along tomorrow if they want to.”

Margaret will also be doing a reading and signing session at Wigtown Book Festival in the coming weeks.

As for the future, the publisher has asked for first refusal on the remainder of her children’s books.

“I’d just chucked them all in a drawer,” she added, “but I think some of them might see the light of day now!”