“He’s there, he’s there,” the children whispered to each other before the whispers turned to chatter, and then to shouts and cheers as David Walliams entered the brightly lit conservatory of Crom Castle, high-fiving children.

Excited schoolchildren from across County Fermanagh had gathered for the best-selling author and TV entertainer.

Children at the event included those from Holy Trinity Primary School, Enniskillen; Newtownbutler Primary School; St. Mary’s Primary School, Newtownbutler; the Moat Primary School and St. Ronan’s Primary, Lisnaskea, as well as pupils from Willowbridge School, Enniskillen – the winners of The Impartial Reporter and Serenity Press’ competition to meet Mr. Walliams.

The event was facilitated by two Fermanagh sisters – Emma and Karen Weaver – as part of the Serenity Press Author’s Retreat hosted at Crom Castle.

Karen, based in Australia, is a publisher and founder of Serenity Press, and Emma, based in Fermanagh, is the founder of Mental Wealth International.

Mr. Walliams was their guest as part of a retreat for non-fiction authors associated with the publisher, with guests coming from all around the world.

Before Mr. Walliams’ arrival, a book fairy greeted the children and sang a few songs and read ‘Piglet’s Castle’, by The Countess of Erne, as they waited for the author to arrive.

The children were enchanted by the sights of the castle, getting to meet the butler, and being welcomed to Crom by Lord Erne himself.

“This is an amazing moment – you are about to meet one of the best authors alive,” he told the exited children.

Mr. Walliams spent more than an hour with the children, reading for them, telling stories, and showing them pictures as well as posing for pictures.

He told the children about his stories, showed them pictures from his childhood, and pictures from the books.

He then asked the children if they would like to nominate any of their teachers for his next ‘World’s Worst Teachers’ book.

A pupil from St. Mary’s, Newtownbutler, nominated their class teacher, Miss Malon, as “she makes us do maths”.

A pupil from Willowbridge nominated one of his teachers, Dolores, who he says makes him and his classmates “do hard maths”.

Then it was time for the teachers to have a say, too. When Zara from Newtownbutler Primary School nominated Miss Stephenson as a character for the book, Mr. Walliams invited Miss Stephenson up to ask if Zara’s allegations were true.

Jackson (7), from St. Mary’s PS, nominated Miss McCormack, who also joined Mr. Walliams to say she disagreed with his nomination.

‘My favourite one’

As Mr. Walliams talked about his book, ‘Robodog’, one of the children whispered to her friend: “That’s my favourite one.”

One book when discussed which caused quite a stir was a discussion on Mr. Walliams’s latest book, ‘Blunders’, set in a castle, not dissimilar to the one the children were sitting in.

Mr. Walliams then described the main character as “a very silly lord, who wears tweed jackets” as he looked toward his friend, Lord Erne, which attracted plenty of laughs from the children and adults.

A lively question and answer session then followed about Mr. Walliams, his books and some of his life, with children keen to ask which of his books was his favourite, and other pressing questions.

Later, ‘The Blunders’ came up when Lord Erne asked about a possible TV adaption of the book. He added with a laugh: “Can we film it here?”

During the Q&A section, after one of the children asked a question, Mr. Walliams asked her a question: “Who is your favourite author?”

The young girl replied simply: “You,” leaving him in no doubt as to his popularity with local schoolchildren.

Photos continue overleaf.