Lashings of ginger beer as Judy Costello celebrates a double

COOMA-MONARO EXPRESS writer Judy Costello recently wrote a short piece in her regular Judy's Jottings column about the famous children's author Enid Blyton, to mark the anniverary of her death on November 28, or 45 years ago.

What our modest reporter Mrs Costello didn't mention was that she is in fact related to the great children's writer.

Enid Blyton is Mrs Costello's great-grandmother!

Mrs Costello's mother, Lily Constance was born Lily Blyton.

Writing must be in their blood, because Lily Constance (nee Blyton) wrote for the Express for 65 years and her daughter, followed in her footsteps and has just clocked up 15 years writing for the Express.

"Lily Blyton's ancestors came from England and we are related to the famous author of children's books Enid Blyton who was born on August 11, 1887 and died aged 81 years on November 28, 1968," Mrs Costello said.

Mrs Costello had an anniversary of her own on December 1, marking 15 years she has been writing her column for the Express.

"Lily lived to 100 years and loved writing all her life," Mrs Costello said.

"She wrote for the Berridale News, then for the Cooma-Monaro Express for 65 years, firstly with editor Wallace Craigie," Mrs Costello said.

"It was when her eyesight dimmed and I began helping her until she stopped and one day, the then editor Lee Evans rang me to see if I would write some community news every Tuesday.

"In shock at first I said no, I don't think I could.

"Lee said, yes you can, and I said when do you want me to start?

"She said next Tuesday and that was December 1, 1998, 15 years ago, and I have never stopped."

The longest-serving reporter at the Express, Mrs Costello started working in Cooma schools (Cooma Public, Cooma North and Monaro High School) for 28 years, and did regular news columns for Cooma North Public School, before she started writing for the Express.

A well hidden fact is her talent as a bush poet - she has written about 100 poems and can rattle up a poem in the wink of an eye.

"People would often ask me to write a quick poem when a staff member was leaving, or after trips," Mrs Costello said.

"My latest poem was after the King Kong trip to Melbourne."

Enid Blyton wrote about children's adventures and fantasy, sometimes involving magic.

Her literary output was an estimated 800 books over 40 years.

One of her best known characters was Noddy, others were Famous Five, Five Find-Outers and Dog and Secret Seven.

Her books have been successful in many parts of the world, and have sold over 600 million copies.

A few years ago it was estimated more than 3,544 translations were available.

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