Ribble Valley primary school teacher pens latest novel of haunted highwayman of Hurst Green

A Ribble Valley primary school teacher has penned her latest novel.

Rachel Helen’s ‘The Highwayman of Hurst Green’ is the first book in the ‘Words of the Dead’ series, which is inspired by Lancashire folklore and ghost stories.

The Year 4 teacher at Waddington and West Bradford Primary School has previously published a trilogy of books about the Pendle Witches.

Rachel said: “I'm planning for the next two books to be set in Waddington and Wycoller - and beyond that I'm open to suggestions!

Teacher Rachel Lopiccolo with her new book

“In this book, lonely home-schooled teenager, Iris Emmott, who has just arrived in the Lancashire village of Hurst Green, discovers she is able to communicate with the afterlife.

"The plot weaves together Iris’ narrative with the story of Ned King, a seventeenth-century highwayman who was hanged in the village three hundred years previously. As she comes to terms with the news of her ‘gift’, Iris and her neighbour Toby, become embroiled in King’s mission to have his voice heard and his soul freed.”

The book was inspired by local tales of highwayman Ned King, whose spirit reputedly rides on horseback along the roads of the village and had supposedly haunted the now-demolished Punchbowl Inn.

This book brings both folklore and facts together in a chilling piece of paranormal fiction. It is suitable for ages 10 and above.

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Rachel is a mum of two, with a BA honours in History and a PGCE in primary education.

In 2017, she had several articles about teaching published in the TES and was subsequently commissioned by Schofield and Sims to write two educational books. However, her dream since childhood was always to write a novel.