By Monica Gibson

There was a happy ending for a group of young Barrhead bookworms who smashed this year’s Tesco Bank Reading Challenge.

Hundreds of children across East Renfrewshire took part in the event, which charged them with the task of tackling at least six books over the summer holidays.

The theme for this year’s challenge was Animal Agents, based on a detective agency that is staffed by all kinds of animals who are out to crack a mystery with a little help from their friends.

Some of the successful youngsters turned out at Barrhead Foundry to receive medals and certificates for completing the challenge, run locally by East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure (ERCL).

Councillor Colm Merrick, a member of ERCL’s board of trustees, presented the awards.

Cllr Merrick, also East Renfrewshire Council’s convener for community services and community safety, told the Barrhead News: “Our aim is to encourage children to read books from an early age and the summer reading challenge is a great way of inspiring them to do just that.

“Our libraries staff are always on hand to suggest new books for youngsters to read.

“We’d encourage parents and carers to bring children along to our libraries, where they will receive a warm, friendly welcome, and let them see the fantastic world of books waiting for them there.

“Today’s readers are tomorrow’s writers. We believe that, in addition to being great fun, reading opens up many avenues of knowledge for our young people.”

Tony Ross, a best-selling children’s illustrator, worked on bringing the theme to life – designing collecting cards which feature the Animal Agents characters, as well as fun activities for the children to take part in as they progressed through the reading challenge.

To find out about the various events taking place at your local library, visit