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(win new editions) Former Rugeley child runaway takes his story to European Parliament and launches new crowdfunder in Telford



Poems From a Runaway author Ben Westwood calls out to the local community to help spread the word of his book funding campaign.

During 2017, tinkering away on his laptop and scribbling notes for most of the year was 33 year-old Ben Westwood, a former child runaway from Rugeley, Staffordshire.

He was writing his debut book 'Poems From a Runaway' , which is a collection of sixty stories about his life until the age of 16 years old.

Sleeping in ditches and car parks across Staffordshire from ten years old was Ben's life before he found himself in London whilst missing at the age of 12.

After a series of shocking events, by 13 he was sleeping rough outside Victoria station before becoming a somewhat permanent W1 resident on London's Piccadilly.

Whilst there he slept in doorways and mingled with the homeless, often begging to survive.

He fibbed his way into day centres, and even managed to get into hostels for a night or two here and there until it was time to make a benefit claim, which of course he couldn't do.

Despite certainly being a hard-hitting and somewhat unique childhood story containing moments that include sleep-deprivation, extreme hunger and even kidnappings - those of you expecting the sounds of violin music and calls for sympathy, this simply isn't one of those books.

And for those thinking it's a poetry book, it's not really that either.

Westwood accredits some of his inspiration and style of the book to the early work of A.A.Milne of which he himself used to read as a young child.

But Poems From a Runaway itself is written in the perspective of the then young person confused by people and society.

Be prepared to be laughing one minute, and completely surprised the next as Ben takes you through his journey in a style which those that have read it since its initial release say is somewhat addictive and a book that's hard to put down.

Ben's efforts of writing about a somewhat hidden and unspoken world haven't gone unnoticed.

On 6th June he was invited to speak about his experiences alongside the European Missing Children umbrella charity at a conference on runaways at European Parliament in Brussels.

On 29th June he also spoke for 90 minutes with a group of over thirty social work students, lecturers and foster parents at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and has another event coming up on 16th July with social workers in Somerset.

With only just over 100 colour copies ever printed, and with a new 'typo-free' edition coming out he's launched a crowdfunding campaign to sell pre-orders of the new version to fund his venture to get Poems From a Runaway finally into bookshops.

On Ben's crowdfunder page, he not only offers new signed paperback and hardback books for sale, but is also running a raffle where for £2 everyone gets a one in twelve chance of winning a signed paperback.

His Crowdfunder is already live and runs until 12 midday on 14th August and he is hoping to raise at least £2500 to get his book venture set up and 'Poems From a Runaway' on the map.

You can find out more through the crowdfunder page on his Twitter pinned post @PoemsFaRunaway
As well as the link on this post.

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