A flagship initiative organised with Witham’s MP has received high praise from the top of Government as it prepares to return for the seventh consecutive year.

The date has now been announced for the return of Priti Patel’s Get Witham Reading event, with more than 100 children already signed up to take part.

The scheme, which returns on Thursday, July 5, has been praised by Prime Minister Theresa May and Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

In a letter to Ms Patel, the Prime Minister said: “It is wonderful to see that Get Witham Reading is returning this year and I am delighted to send my best wishes as you take part in this fantastic event.

“Whether you find yourself awaiting your Hogwarts letter, enjoying an adventure in Narnia, or embarking on a journey across Middle-earth, I hope that you find as much pleasure in reading as I do.”

This year seven schools across the constituency are poised to join in with the fun and will run literacy based activities based on some of the country’s best loved books.

Ms Patel said: “Recreational reading is crucially important as it helps to foster a child’s imagination as well as improve core academic skills.

“I hope this event will show that reading is not only a gateway to achievement and success, but that it can be very enjoyable too.

“I would like to thank all the schools who will be taking part in Get Witham Reading this year and I hope all pupils, teachers and parents have an enjoyable day celebrating reading across this part of Essex.”

Mr Hinds said the scheme was a brilliant way of sharing a love of literature with young people.

He said: “One of my favourite books when I was young was a poetry book called Now We Are Six.

“This was written by A.A. Milne, who also wrote the Winnie the Pooh books.

“Now I am a father, I have been lucky enough to revisit these wonderful poems with my own children and would encourage you to read them too if you get the chance.”