Unlikely animal friendship inspires story

Brian Caswell'from Pontefract
Brian Caswell'from Pontefract

An unlikely friendship between a horse and a goose has inspired the plot for a children’s story.

Retired maths teacher Brian Caswell, 82, from Pontefract, has written the Fairy Tale of Kiplingcoates Derby – based on the animals that he spotted in a field in Hornsea.

Mr Caswell, who owns a flat in the seaside town with wife Rita, said: “Every time we passed this particular farm on the bus we saw the same goose sitting eating grass beside the same horse.

“It was so unusual, it just intrigued me.”

Mr Caswell tracked down the owner of the farm where the animals live to find out more about them.

He said:”I discovered the goose is called Mary and growing up she was one of the weaklings, so she was kept separate from the other geese.

“Apparently, she kept escaping to spend time in the field with the horse, called Whitney, who has become her surrogate mother.”

Mr Caswell, who taught at a number of schools in the area including the former Gordon Street Middle School in Featherstone, has set the story at the Kiplingcoates Derby, held annually at the East Yorkshire town of Market Weighton.

The story follows the triumphs of a farmer’s daughter, who enters her horse in the event – the oldest horse race in the country – and finds success with the help of her pet goose.

This year’s derby event, which Mr Caswell plans to attend, takes place next Thursday.

Mr Caswell said: “I’m a member of a Castleford poetry club and I originally wanted to write a poem about the animals, but instead turned the piece into a children’s story.

“I’ve never written fiction before but I’ve quite enjoyed it.”

Mr Caswell says he’d like to take his story into schools to read to children and have it made into an animated film.