AN author has been appointed as patron of Blackburn with Darwen Children and Young People’s Library Service.

Christina Gabbitas, from Blackburn, attended a presentation held at Blackburn Central Library in recognition of her 'outstanding literacy development work', both locally and at a national level, as well as her achievements as an award-winning author and 'tireless advocacy work for libraries'.

A commemorative plaque honouring the day was unveiled by Ms Gabbitas which will be mounted in the children’s library.

Ms Gabbitas, who is founder of the Children’s Literature Festivals charity, said: "I am truly honoured to be given the title, Patron of Blackburn with Darwen Libraries for Children’s and Young People.

"As a child who was painfully shy, I could never have imagined that one day I would be presented with an award from the very library that I used to visit weekly with my mum who always had a passion for reading. The library evokes many happy memories.

"I'd like to say a huge thanks to Adele Karwat and Andrew Orr for their continued invaluable support over the years with my work, and the Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Literature Festival."

Adele Karwat, from Blackburn Library, thanked Ms Gabbitas for sharing her passion and enthusiasm for reading and writing.

She said: "Christina has taken up the mantel as patron of the Children’s Library and has been a wonderful friend to the library service. She’s such an inspiration – telling the children about how this shy girl from Blackburn has used her love of literature to create such wonderful vibrant characters."

In 2019, Ms Gabbitas wrote a book called 'Believe in the magic of Blackburn town centre', commissioned by Blackburn BID.

Catherine Price, Blackburn town centre BID Manager, congratulated Christina on her recognition.

She said: "I'm absolutely delighted that Christina has become Patron of Blackburn with Darwen Children and Young People’s Library Service.

"Christina is an amazing ambassador for libraries and books and is brilliant at getting children and young people excited about reading. She has written fantastic books, including the recent ‘Believe in the Magic of Blackburn town centre’, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Christina and the Library Service achieve together."

Cllr Derek Hardman, mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, said: "Having presented a mayoral award to Christina for work with children during lockdown, it was great to see her receive this appointment in support of library's and her tireless work in encouraging children to read and through this supporting children's learning."