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Book-loving schoolboy Harri, 5, melts millions of hearts on the One Show

Pendine Park; Harri Shone aged 5 who visits residents after school to read stories to them; Harri Shone, 5 reads to Highfield resident Betty Newcombe . Picture Mandy Jones

A book loving five year schoolboy who reads his favourite stories to care home residents “melted the hearts” of millions of TV viewers watching The One Show.

Local hero Harri Shone, a pupil of Ysgol Penrhyn, New Broughton, near Wrexham, had a starring role on the prime time BBC One programme as part of a package about World Book Day.

He was filmed reading one of his stories to 90-year-old Coral Pickard, a resident at Pendine Park’s Highfield care home on the outskirts of the town.

According to Harri, he loves to read to his older friends at Pendine “because it makes them happy” and dreams of a day when other children all around the UK will be able to go into care homes to read to residents.

Harri was invited to appear on the magazine show after the producers heard how he regularly pops into Pendine Park where his mum Laura Shone is a senior care practitioner.

Coral said it was a delight having Harri read to her, adding: “I’ve not spoken to a child for a long, long time because I’m now ninety.”

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She said despite their age difference the two have become great friends and she told him his story-reading was ‘absolutely lovely’.

Harri has become a familiar face to Coral and her fellow Highfield residents as he regularly pops in for reading sessions after school.

Mum Laura also appeared with him on The One Show, telling how Harri is such an avaricious reader even at his young age.

Whether it is imaginative stories or non-fiction, Harri says reading is his number one hobby and he told The One Show viewers that he likes to read a book every day. 

After seeing their appearance on national television, Laura said: “Harri said he is very proud of himself and he hopes he has inspired other children to go into nursing homes to read. He wants to start a book club in the home.” 

She added: “Harri has always loved books and so I thought it would be a good idea for him to come along and share his passion for reading with our residents. He’s been calling here for a few months now. It’s lovely to see our residents’ faces light up when he arrives. They all know him and enjoy hearing how well he is progressing with his reading.”

Highfield care home manager Tracey Smith also tuned in to see the delightful segment which also charmed One Show presenters Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas.

Tracey said: “Harri is already a little hero to our residents and staff and now he has melted the hearts of millions of One Show viewers. He’s real star who has a lovely personality and knack for making people happy which is such a precious gift.”

Laura believes Harri’s bond with books comes from time spent with his Uncle Raymond, her husband’s uncle, who is in his seventies. 

“They are great mates. At weekends and whenever they get together they will happily spend hours reading the newspapers sitting next to each other. He enjoys it so much.

“It was watching them together so often which inspired me to bring Harri into work to read with residents a couple of days a week after I pick him up from school. From the very first visit he just found it was the most natural thing in the world to read out loud to them.”

While filming with the TV crew Harri discovered that he shares a love of reading with Queen Camilla who appeared on the same edition of The One Show.

A renowned reader, the Queen revealed how her lifelong interest in literature began as a child when her father Bruce Shand would read bedtime stories to her.

For the show Harri was coincidentally filmed patiently reading a story called Gran’s New Blue Shoes, about a grandmother who wears her new shoes when she goes to visit the Queen.

Other famous names also talked about their bond with books, including comedian, writer and actor Johnny Vegas, Strictly Come Dancing and Traitors presenter, Claudia Winkleman, and TV chef and healthy food campaigner Jamie Oliver.

Live in the studio singer Beverley Knight said her favourite childhood novel was The Outsiders by S E Hinton, while Welsh-born Gavin and Stacey actress Ruth Jones said for her nothing beats the Paddington stories.

Queen Camilla, 76, said she believes reading is one of the most important and enjoyable activities for any young child. 

She has previously told how she loves to read the world famous Harry Potter adventure tales to her grandchildren. 

She recently held a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the final of the prestigious children’s writing competition the BBC’s 500 Words.

She admires the way the competition gives children a chance to explore their imaginations and develop their creativity.

The Queen is a champion and honorary judge of the contest which was first launched in 2011 by the then Radio 2 morning show presenter Chris Evans. It grew to become the world’ biggest literary initiative for children and recognises the UK’s best short story writers aged five to 11.

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