Seaton tram fan is star of children’s book

Seaton musician Gordon Langford who is the hero of Val Howels’ new children’s book – “Gordon’s Tumbl

Seaton musician Gordon Langford who is the hero of Val Howels’ new children’s book – “Gordon’s Tumbledown Tram”. - Credit: Archant

The true story of world famous musician’s love for trams is revealed in East Devon author’s latest work

The true story of a Seaton musician’s passion for trams is revealed in a new children’s book.

Gordon Langford is world-famous for his musicianship and compositions, especially his arrangements for brass bands.

He was recently awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music and last month one of his orchestral arrangements was played and broadcast during a Promenade Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

What is not so well known is that Gordon has had a life-long love of trams.

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Now East Devon author Val Howels’ fourth children’s book - Gordon’s Tumbledown Tram - tells how, in the 1950s, he came across a derelict double-decker tram in the middle of a field near Waltham Abbey.

Following its removal from service in 1935, it had been used by a farmer and his family as a summer house and then a chicken house.

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The farmer’s field was due for redevelopment and he willingly gave the dilapidated tram to Gordon and his six tram-enthusiast friends. Working conditions were hard and tools were fairly basic. Unsurprisingly, Gordon’s hands were covered in scratches, bruises, blisters and cuts. He played the piano with a myriad of plasters on his fingers. He conducted an orchestra with a thumping great thwack on his thumb.

The project was a labour of love and took over 20 years to complete.

Children’s illustrator Sophie Baugh-Jones brings the story to life with her humorous and colourful drawings.

Val Howels has a Masters Degree in Education. She specialised in early years education and dyslexia. Whilst she extends vocabulary and uses alliteration and rhyming to encourage developing reading skills, her main purpose is to encourage a love of books in young readers.

Gordon’s Tumbledown Tram is now on sale for £4.99.

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