Mum who lost three loved ones within weeks is helped in book mission by Sheffield schoolchildren
A Sheffield mum who decided to write a book after three loved ones died within weeks of each other has been helped in her mission by city schoolchildren.
Rachel Ocean was left 'devastated' when her dog Marty died before Christmas 2015, followed by her mum Dorothy on New Year's Eve, and then her best friend Nico died two weeks later.
But rather than slip into a spiral of depression, Rachel, aged 48, decided to 'turn a negative into a positive' and write her first book.
Rachel, of Gleadless, said: "I was in absolute shock and extremely down. But all this tragedy made me determined to do something positive to balance all the negatives in my life.
"My friend had heard me make up stories for my son and said I would be a good children's author, so I decided to give it a go."
Mum-of-three Rachel, who works as a train conductor, got writing and had finished a draft of her book within a matter of months.
She said: "Writing the book was very therapeutic thing to do at the time, it really saved me from falling into depression."
Once her draft was finished, Rachel paid a visit to St Theresa's Primary School, Prince of Wales Road, where her seven-year-old son Charlie attends for some feedback.
"I got such a great reaction from the children," said Rachel. "More importantly, though, the children really helped to give me an idea of which bits worked and which didn't.
"It was a real insight and they loved being part of the process. They were like my little editors."
Once the book was complete, Rachel said she was 'extremely lucky' to find illustrator Lucy Gawal, a close friend's cousin, who created the pictures.
Rachel has now been taking her book - a children's' story about the adventures of two adorable pugs - into schools around Sheffield and has been getting an 'amazing' reaction.
She has now read the book to children art Anns Grove Primary School, Heeley, Halfway Infant and Nursery School, St Mary's primary, High Green, Windmill Hill, in Chapeltown, among others.
Rachel said: "I'm very proud that something positive has come out of all this. I think it proves how a Sheffield lass can do something exciting and create a whole new adventure in life."
The book is officially released on December 3. To find out more visit: www.martyandmilly.com