AN AMATEUR author is aiming big for her 75th birthday as she releases her first book.

Sheila Drewery, originally from Workington but now living in Barrow, has written 'Tiggy and the Chip', a children's book set for release on November 27 to coincide with her birthday.

The story is based around Tiggy the cat who makes a startling discovery around the turn of the Millennium, which she hopes can crack the Amazon best-sellers list.

Sheila said: "The Millennium Bug was always in the news and that inspired me to write this story back in 1999.

"It's obviously taken a while to get to this point now but I knew it would be a great way to celebrate my birthday."

The original story was submitted as part of a national children's story competition and was also included in a millennium capsule buried by the Evening Mail 23 years ago.

Sheila has used the book to keep herself busy after retiring two years ago as a Local Coordinator for foreign students.

"If you don't use your brain, you'll lose it," she explained.

"I've been learning the piano and taking GCSE maths lessons, and writing has also filled the gap after all the jobs I've done in my life."

Sheila added that she wanted to get the story published before it was too late.

"I'm not really bothered about the money; I just want to get it out there whilst I'm still going," she said.

She has worked with Charlotte Stewart, an illustrator also in South Lakes, who Sheila came to know through her maths teacher Sam at her local library.

The pair share the same birthday, with Mrs Stewart turning 40, making the release date even more special.

The response from people in the local community has been positive and Sheila has seen plenty of pre-orders asked for.

"I've had people asking me to sign it for them and I've had to come up with what my professional signature will actually look like," she said.

'Tiggy and the Chip' will go on sale on Amazon for £6.99 just in time for Christmas.