MichaeI Morpurgo was born in 1943, in St Alban’s in Hertfordshire. He and his brother were evacuated to Northumberland when they were little, away from the bombs.

“We thought that what children needed most were wonderful and memorable experiences that would really help them find out about the world around them and find out more about themselves too. So we set up a charity called Farms for City Children, moved to Iddesleigh, bought a big house called Nethercott where the children could stay, made a partnership with a farming family we had got to know and invited our first city children down to the farm. The charity has been running now for forty years. Over 90,000 children have come to the three farms where the charity now runs, in Wales at Lower Treginnis Farm, in Gloucestershire at Wick Court, and of course where we started it all, at Nethercott in Devon.”

He wrote nearly 130 books: War Horse, Private Peaceful, Why the Whales Came, The Butterfly Lion, Kensuke’s Kingdom. “And with all of them, I was much helped in my writing by many friends and writers, but especially by Ted Hughes, the great poet, who lived nearby and fished on the river than runs through the farm. He became a good friend, and was a great inspiration to me to keep writing when I was finding it hard”.

Extracts from Michael Morpurgo’s website