Glory be to God for pied beauty

There was nothing outstanding about the Cook children who lived in Stockton in ordinary circumstances; but as they grew – Fran, Warner, Trish, Meg, Colleen, and Anne − they developed into extraordinarily loving and artistically talented young people.

One of those siblings, baptised Anne Veronica, called Annie at work and Bonnie at home, was a diminutive young girl with long black curly hair and big, blue eyes. She loved nature and all things great and small. She faithfully worshipped at the Sacred Heart Cathedral and died on All Souls Day in 2016. She is sadly missed by everyone who knew her.

Bonnie kept a dog and two cats and she loved the birds who inhabited her garden. She particularly loved the magpies and often spoke about them to her sister, Colleen. She spoke so gently and lovingly about the birds, how they looked after each other, the accidents they suffered, their flying off and leaving her and their returning, that Colleen decided to write down all the anecdotes some years prior to Bonnie’s death.

When Bonnie was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and a limited life span, she spoke with regret at not being able to leave anything notable for her family’s memories. Those words inspired Colleen to collate all the anecdotes that she and Bonnie had talked about and to put them together in a small children’s book called Aunty Bonnie’s Magpie

She sought the permission, first, of Bonnie to proceed with the project. Bonnie was so delighted! Colleen then turned to her brother, Warner, a talented artist but living with Parkinson’s Disease, to illustrate the story. A son-in-law, Mark, a graphic designer, laid out the book and prepared it for printing. Colleen’s children helped with fonts and editing and before Bonnie died, the book was finished. What had begun with the birth of Colleen’s first grandchild, ended some time after the birth of the fourth granddaughter and the death of her darling sister.

You can buy a copy of Aunty Bonnie’s Magpie from the West End Newsagency, Newcastle. All proceeds assist with cancer and Parkinson’s research, at Bonnie’s request. Your children will love it!

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