The Lincolnshire Puppy Reaches for the Top!

Andy Clayton

In: News 

You can be whatever you want to be, and still reach the top; a mathematician, a sports player or even an illustrator, and we have proof! The Lincolnshire Puppy book, a joint educational project with Lincoln University has been Highly Commended at the Heist Awards!

The Heist Awards recognise and celebrate excellence, professionalism, and innovation in education marketing at all levels, from regional colleges to global university brands. Now in their 27th year the Heist Awards are the premier awards programme for marketing in the further and higher education sectors.

Creative Illusratration

The project, shortlisted for Best Community/Business Engagement Campaign, was commissioned by the University of Lincoln for the Lincolnshire Outreach Network, a partnership of universities and colleges that aims to raise the aspirations of young people in Lincolnshire, and we were invited to bring the story to life through illustrations. Written by Elly Sample, Director of Communications, Development and Marketing at the University of Lincoln, the book tells the story of a bright, energetic puppy who instead of attending school runs through the streets of Lincoln visiting various iconic local attractions and meeting an array of characters along the way. The puppy does not believe he is able to achieve anything at school but is persuaded that if he were to just try he ‘can achieve anything he sets his mind to’. 

The foreword is written by Professor and favourite children’s broadcaster Chris Packham, a strong advocate of nurturing children’s potential and encouraging the exploration of ambition, down whichever path that might be.

Ruddocks Illustrator James Smart, commented:

“This was a particularly exciting assignment for us, being one of the largest pieces of illustrative work we have been commissioned to undertake. The fact that it has been so well received and now shortlisted for an award is just fantastic! 

“Following some research into some popular children’s book characters we sketched some initial concepts for the puppy which were then developed, along with the other key characters, to tell the story. The final sketches were then digitally re-created using special brushes to produce hand-painted effect illustrations, and then incorporated into the storyboard. 

“The iconic landscapes and attractions of Lincoln were key to telling the story and to local engagement; whilst the story was written with children in mind, it was also designed to resonate with parents and potential students so the illustrations were sympathetic to this audience too.”

15,000 books were packaged into class size parcels, wrapped in specially designed puppy wrapping paper and delivered to every primary school across Lincolnshire. The books have been very well received and we’ve had some really positive feedback from many of the schools who love the aspirational message that ‘you can be whatever you want to be’!


As a company we are very focused on our local community and we are delighted to be working with the University of Lincoln to promote and encourage ambitions of the young people in our county, whether that be academic or vocational.
Paul Banton
Managing Director, Ruddocks