Photo of Chris Madeley

Chris Madeley

Chris Madeley was encouraged to share her story by her husband, Keith, aka Mr Yorkshire. Chris says “I have created a series of children’s books, Meet the Cones, to help children learn to live and play within moral parameters.

To do this we have four friends who, when human eyes are looking, are Just Cones. They have no hands, no faces, no voices, no movement: Just Cones. When humans look away, our four friends go out into the world. They have adventures which teach them many lessons, including how and where to play safely.

They have “guardians” to oversee their welfare: Police Car who is very friendly and cares for them, and Wise Owl who flies silently around keeping a watchful eye on them in case they need help. New Moon is the ultimate helper who solves the problem by pouring Magic Moondust down. New Moon has a bit of a mischievous streak and was the reason the Cones can come “alive” in the first place.”

Who will the initiative help/who has it helped already?

Chris says “The stories help children to learn to deal with life and the world around them.  There is very little suitable reading material for children with a reading age in advance of their years. Schools use the books and, equally, older children who have a less mature reading age for their years gain benefit.

They read about themes such as: taking care of themselves and others; having lovely manners; having fun but always keep safety uppermost in their minds; learning who may keep them safe; and enjoyment of the outdoors.

I visit junior schools and high schools. Junior schools to read the stories and talk about writing in general, and senior schools to visit their literary groups of aspiring writers.

I have received a National Award from the Rail Industry 2017 for Passenger Safety for being proactive with regard to children’s safety and awareness of dangers both trackside and on-board trains. Just this month my book about safety around construction sites was assessed and verified as being best practice on the Considerate Constructors Website.”

What’s worked?

“I am working with Bradford College students who, as part of their course, are producing an app which uses characters and themes from the stories which will be free for children to play on their tablets and will teach them safety issues.  This year I’ve also worked with students from Leeds Trinity University who have created a short animation from the Cones on the Rails books.

Both sets of students and their lecturers have said this has been of significant help in assisting them to seek out new skills and deepen their knowledge.  They will leave their respective establishments with something in their portfolios of commercial value. This will help demonstrate their capabilities over and above their academic achievements when seeking employment.

Corporate Social Responsibility is a main issue in the corporate world. I work closely with such industries as construction, rail, electricity etc to conduct research into areas of safety concern. It assists them in fulfilling their obligations to schools in areas where they are actively involved.”

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

“When you believe in something never give up!  Focus on the power of using a story to get out a message.”

What’s next?

“It is exciting that corporate organisations are lining up to explore how they can get their safety message over to children and parents.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

“I am always seeking to explore with anyone who has a safety, moral, ethical or environmental issues to see how I can help.  Where there’s an issue, there’s a story!”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!

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