An unconventional children’s book bringing the absurd and the wonderful together hopes to raise charity funds for displaced UK farming families.

‘101 Uses for Your Ostrich’ was conceived by author Barrie Hardern, in collaboration with a bunch of local schoolchildren – and some rather brave adults.

It’s hoped the book will raise money for the Addington Fund – a registered farming charity.

The Addington Fund’s main area of work is to provide homes for farming families living in England and Wales who have to leave the industry, through no fault of their own, and by doing so will lose their home.

The concept of tasking Chester schoolchildren from Upton-by-Chester High School – and some very experienced cartoonists – with devising new and unusual uses for these wonderful creatures is the brainchild of Country Landowners’ Association (CLA) member Barrie Hardern.

He was encouraged in his endeavours by Addington Fund Trustee and CLA Cheshire committee stalwart David Rowland.

It was rare for the late Duke of Westminster to provide a foreword to a book. But, then again, ‘101 Uses for Your Ostrich’ isn’t so much a book – but rather a bold and zany display of life’s unorthodox beauty.

One day, while regretting the loss of connection between man and beast in this technological age, Barrie realised that ostriches were truly curious creatures.

With a little creative thinking and a good sprinkling of humour, Barrie thougth the ostrich could fill the gap left behind by oxen and assess and re-establish the working relationship between farmers and fauna.

“There really was no agenda with the book,” admitted the author.

“My goal was to plant a seed of an idea, bring people in to flesh it out and just see where it took them.

We ended up capturing the entire tapestry of the human mind and its ideas. It really is a piece of art, as much as it’s an off-the-wall, light-hearted book.”

He added: “And it couldn’t be for a better cause, either. The Addington Fund literally saves the livelihoods of UK farming families who are displaced or have their agriculture operations shut down, through no fault of their own. I’ve seen their good work over many decades and felt it was time to give back.

“There’s no tea fundraiser or bun throwing here, but instead a book unlike anything else on the market, worth a few bob to help those genuinely in need.”