WHEN celebrity gardener and author, Alan Titchmarsh, takes the time to read your tome it has to be worth the read.

Interestingly, Alan was born in Ilkley, not too far from Leeds, the birthplace of Jack Sheffield, author of the charming book Happiest Days.

Set in 1986, Happiest Days is Jack's 10th novel in the Teacher series and continues the tale of life in the fictional village of Ragley-on-the-Forest.

Jack's books give him the opportunity to write about the 'real' stories he encountered during his tenure as a headteacher. He refers to them as his 'Alternative School Logbook' after a retiring headteacher advised him to keep his jottings simple in the official school logbook. "Whatever you do, don't say what really happens, because no one will believe you!"

Obviously those tales were the basis for this wonderful tome based on Jack Sheffield's return to Ragley Village School for his 10th roller-coaster year as headteacher.

Around that time Margaret Thatcher was celebrating her third election victory - it was also the year of Neighbours and a Transformer for Christmas, Jack observes, and, a whole host of surprises are in store at Ragley-on-the-Forest School.

The tall and elegant school secretary, Vera, has a decision to make, a new teacher is appointed and a disaster threatens the school which is very much a part of the local community.

Readers will become familiar with characters including Ruby the rosy-cheeked overall-wearing school caretaker. Then there's Lollipop Lil whose profession can be deciphered from her fond title, some are, of course, more favourable and friendlier than others. There are the usual village gossips and a woman with the wonderful old-fashioned name, Prudence, runs the village convenience store.

'Community' is a common thread binding them all and it is very much an integral part of the 'Happiest Days' tale.

In and amongst the trails and tribulations facing one with the responsible role of running a school is the closure of Morton School in the next village resulting in the amalgamation of two schools.

But what does this mean for Jack? The dawn of a new school year was exciting but there was apprehension too for Jack about what the future could hold.

A missing pig, gripping the headlines of the local paper, and the threat of development are just some of the village dramas encountered through the chapters.

Add to that the unexpected news, and having to face making the biggest decision of his career, readers can follow Jack's fortunes through this heart-warming read which should appeal to most readers.

Contrary to the rural village where 'Happiest Days' is set and the apparent genteel way of life residents enjoy, Jack Sheffield grew up in the tough environment of Gipton Estate in North Leeds.

Interestingly, before entering education, Jack held a number of roles including working as a 'pitch boy' repairing roofs; he also worked as a Corona Pop man before studying at St John's College, York and training to be a teacher.

In the late 70s and 80s Jack was the headteacher of two schools in North Yorkshire.

He became senior lecturer in primary education at Bretton Hall, near Wakefield, and it was during this time he began recording his many amusing stories of village life.

Previous books include Teacher Teacher!; Mister Teacher, Dear Teacher, Village Teacher, Please Sir!, Educating Jack, School's Out!, Silent Night and Star Teacher.

In 2016 Jack was awarded the honorary title of Cultural Fellow of York St John University.

Jack now lives with his wife in York and Hampshire.

'Jack Sheffield Happiest Days' is published in paperback by Bantam Press. It is priced at £7.99.

For more information visit jacksheffield.com.