Thanks to National Heritage Lottery funding, children from the west coast have investigated the problem and are set to launch their own book!

In the first phase of an exciting project led by Tullie House Museum and Prism Arts, 6 reception classes across the west coast have been exploring the life of Driggsby the fin whale and have now created their own book.

The book launch will take place at Mayfield School on Thursday 17 October 2019.

Pupils from Ashfield Infant and Nursery School, Distington Community School, Holme St Cuthbert School, Mayfield School, Seascale Primary School and St Michael’s C.E Primary school are all working on this project.

Anna Smalley, Head of Collections & Engagement at Tullie House says: “We are thrilled to be able to deliver such a major engagement project with such a huge number of pupils, due to National Lottery Heritage Funding support. We are so excited to be able to use Driggsby’s story to inspire children across Cumbria and are looking forward to sharing the amazing creativity and hard work of our partner schools with museum visitors.”

This project has been made possible thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Driggsby is a juvenile fin whale washed up on Drigg beach in 2014 and now on display in Tullie House. Driggsby is thought to have died due to plastic ingestion, through high plastic concentration in her mother’s milk.

The new book contains a poignant short story which follows Driggsby the fin whale as she saves the seas by returning the moon clock to its rightful place. During her journey she encounters the plastic monster which spells disaster. It is a heart-warming story with a powerful message, and was written and illustrated by pupils taking part in the project.

The project has been running since April and, in this first phase, children and their parents have visited Tullie House to see the skeleton of Driggsby and learn about fin whales and their environment. They then completed beach cleans, where each school cleaned a section of beach spanning from Allonby to Seascale.

During the beach cleans the children saw for themselves how much rubbish can be found on our coastline. They left with a greater understanding and appreciation for the environment and are keen to spread the message that, in their own words, “The ocean is not a bin!”

Staff from Prism Arts and Tullie House worked with the children to create the story and illustrations for the book. The book contains vibrant illustrations with some of the magical characters from Driggsby’s fictional journey, including the golden shark and the mystical narwhal. 

The book will be available at libraries across the county and in the Tullie House shop from November.

The project will now continue onto phase two and culminate with a spectacular exhibition at Tullie House. Curated by pupils from participating schools, ‘Whale Tales’ will open May 2020.