Everton Employee's Children's Book Providing Blue Family Boost

An Everton Football Club employee who has already raised more than £1,500 for the Club's Blue Family campaign by selling copies of a story he penned for his newborn child says he has been overwhelmed by the "incredible" reaction.

Mike Taylor, who works in Everton’s media and communications team, wrote Billy The Spaceman shortly after the arrival of his son Billy in 2018 and had previously printed copies for only a handful of family members, including his niece, and close friends.


However, having seen the impact the Blue Family campaign has had in supporting isolated and vulnerable people across Merseyside during the coronavirus pandemic, Mike decided to fundraise for the initiative by taking orders for the book on Facebook.

So positive has been the response to the page he set up earlier this month, he has now committed to raising as much money as possible by working with Everton in the Community to make the space-themed tale available to everyone.

And Boyhood Evertonian Mike, whose wife Kate is an NHS midwife, says he has been truly taken aback that what started out as a keepsake for his son is now helping the Blues support even more people through check-in phone calls, emergency food parcels, delivery of medical prescriptions and other essential services.

"It's been a tough and worrying time for everyone - and we've felt it too, with my wife working in a hospital in extremely difficult conditions," said Mike. "One thing that has been genuinely inspiring, though, is seeing people come together and help each other when they need it most, Everton and Everton in the Community very much included.

"As an Evertonian, first and foremost, and also as an employee of the Football Club, the reaction to the crisis - particularly through the Blue Family campaign - has made me extremely proud.

"It sparked the idea of maybe producing some more copies of the book and donating all the proceeds to EitC.

"I looked into the logistics and set up the Facebook page, honestly expecting a small handful of friends and family to get in touch.

"It's been live for just over a week now and the reaction has been incredible. There have been around 150 orders so far and it's still increasing. The feedback has been overwhelming and I'm just glad it's going to be helping a great cause."

Billy The Spaceman tells the story of a young boy who realises his dream of blasting off into space after enlisting the help of Elvis, his Siamese cat, to build a rocket.

The pair then set off on an adventure through the solar system, learning fun facts along the way.

"The whole idea stemmed from when my wife, who is a midwife, was pregnant," said Mike. "She knew about the importance of speaking to the baby whilst being pregnant and encouraged me to do the same. But, as I think many would say, it felt a bit odd.

"I found a good way around that was reading. I bought The Gruffalo and read it to him most days without it feeling strange at all in the end.

"That was something that I could then carry through when he was born. I read to him every day and started reading lots of different children's books.

"Then one day I had the idea of writing one myself, just for Billy. I thought it'd be something nice to look back on and for him to keep.


"I wrote it over the course of a couple of months, whenever he was asleep. I chose space because it was probably the one thing outside of football that really captured my imagination as a kid and I thought perhaps it could be the start of something for him, too.

"Once I finalised the words, I found an illustrator over the internet who helped with the design. I had five copies printed initially - one for my son, one for my niece who loves reading, one for a friend and a couple for family.

"It had been in the back of my mind but I'd never thought about actually doing anything more with it. It was something I’d written out of my comfort zone so I was also nervous about what people thought.

"But the reaction has been brilliant. It genuinely never crossed my mind that the Club would support it but they have been fantastic and hopefully now it opens things up to more people to get involved in the fundraising."

A 24-page, paperback book with 12 illustrations, Billy The Spaceman is suitable for children of all ages.

Copies are priced at £10 each, with ALL proceeds going to charity.

The cut-off date for orders is Friday 8 May.

To order your copy and help support Everton's Blue Family campaign, click here.

Find out more about the Blue Family campaign and how it is providing vital support and assistance to some of the most vulnerable, socially isolated and at-risk members of the community during the coronavirus pandemic here.