Mark and Heather Stewart
Both Mark and Heather Stewart are Londoners. But now Worcester-based, they run a wonderful independent toyshop – Wise Owl Toys – complete with a left-handers’ department!
Heather trained originally at Southlands College in Roehampton, and subsequently taught in a whole range of schools, from Nursery to Secondary, where her subjects were Maths and Computer Studies. Mark, meanwhile, worked with Barclays Bank in London and Bordeaux, then with the Metropolitan Police in Kings Cross, where he met Heather – and arrested the renowned Buckingham Palace burglar, Michael Fagin!
They moved, now with a young family, to Worcester where Mark worked at the RNIB’s New College developing a number of award-winning products, including braille-coded snooker balls, and a money gauge which was taken up by HSBC.
Having a left-handed father, and a left-handed son, and with her background in education, Heather recognised the lack of awareness of the complications left-handers often face at school – and elsewhere. So, together, Mark and Heather opened a shop for left-handers, and developed training courses for teachers which, with the support of their left-handed MP, Peter Luff, were endorsed by the Department for Education and Skills and incorporated into The National Literacy Strategy.
Mark continues to run specialist courses for teacher training – 'Left-Handed Children: The Right Way to Help!' – in Schools, for Local Education Authorities, Early Years practitioners and for Child-minders and Pre-School Learning Alliance Groups. He has lectured on this subject in both Europe and North America and is frequently interviewed on radio and other media, including 'In Touch' on Radio 4, and 'The Really Useful Show' on Radio 1. For more information, go to www.leftshoponline.co.uk .
All three titles of the Left Hand Writing Skills series have been brilliantly and colourfully illustrated by Fred Chevalier.