The SOS Van at Wordpool in Stanley Park Photo: Claire Griffiths

Save Our Stories Van heads off on new adventure

The Save Our Stories (SOS) Van is heading off on a new adventure and is going up for auction.

The RescueShip came to life in 2015, as part of a collaboration between LeftCoast and Blackpool Libraries.

That March, writer Nick Walker and artist Andy Hazell embarked on a mission across Blackpool, Wyre, and Fylde to bring this story-saving machine to life. Nick described Andy’s creation as a “riot of chrome, rivets, fins, appropriated missile casings, and pointy lights. It looks like it might well fly as well as drive – or at the very least, hover.”

The heart of the project was simple yet profound: to replenish the world’s disappearing stories with new ones. As people entered the van, they were invited to share their tales, contributing to a growing archive of sentences, words, pages, paragraphs, and drawings that filled the SOS library.

Over the years, the SOS Van has travelled to countless schools across the Fylde, where children took part in workshops to fill the SOS Library.

It has been a part of the Wordpool Festival, Wigan Arts Festival, the Winter Gardens Christmas Tree Festival, Blackpool’s Pride Parade, SpareParts Festival and so much more – it was even spotted delivering presents from Santa and Doorstep Dance workshops around the streets of Blackpool during the pandemic.  

This journey wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of Anthony Sharkey and Martyn Coyne, who drove the RescueShip, and the countless individuals who contributed to its story – including the original story tellers Dan Worsley, Louise Fazackerley, and Vanessa Card who took the van on its first story-telling workshops. We’d like to say a huge thank you to you all.

To commemorate the van, LeftCoast and Blackpool Libraries will be handing out the Save Our Stories book, written by Nick Walker and illustrated by David Gray, which was created for the SOS Vehicle’s first ever storytelling journey.

Pop into your local library if you would like to collect a free copy. Limited copies available.  

Let us celebrate the legacy of the RescueShip and the countless stories it has saved. Though this chapter ends, the spirit of storytelling continues to thrive within our communities and projects.

Thank you for being part of this magical journey. Here’s to new adventures and the stories yet to be told.

The auction is currently happening through Burnley Auctioneers

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