Meet Sonia Beldom, the 57 year old from North London who went from producing TV shows such as “An Idiot Abroad” with Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington and Stephen Merchant to throwing her life savings into learning how to drive buses around London.
When COVID hit back in March 2020, Sonia hung up her bus driver’s hat and decided to write a children’s story book series that featured a Granny called Franny who learnt how to drive a ‘Big Red Bus’ so she could take her beloved grandchildren on quirky adventures.
Sonia says: “I started my career as a BBC Radio producer working with the likes of Terry Wogan, Chas & Dave, and then went onto becoming a TV Development Executive for BBC Entertainment, Mentorn, ITN and Tiger Aspect before forming my own production company, Babygrand Productions.
“I asked my colleagues at BBC Radio in 2018 “Do you think I could drive one of the red heritage London Routemaster buses around London?”, they thought I was bonkers for asking the question and said “As long as you get a licence”….so that’s what I went and did.
“I dug out my life savings and took bus driving lessons. After several hair raising moments and getting too close to other cars - I did it. I was a fully licensed bus driver. When I drove over the Tower Bridge, I knew that I had finally found my right seat in life”.
When Sonia decided to hang up her hat in March due to the pandemic, she decided to write about her passion - and along came her fictional beloved character, Granny Franny.
“Many people say that I created the character based on my own experiences, and they wouldn’t be wrong. A lot of inspiration came from my own bus driving experiences, and wanting to showcase just how glorious and magical the big red buses around London really are.
“My children’s books are suitable for children from 3 to 7 years old, and are in the style of a colourful, appealing picture book - perfect for little imaginations. Granny Franny’s energy for life means she is constantly trying new things. There are lots of loveable characters in the books including Thinkerbell - the talking bus bell, Fifi - the Firebell, Saira - the ambulance siren and Harry - the tractor horn”.
Sonia’s children’s books ‘Granny Franny’s Big Red Bus’ and the latest addition to the series ‘Granny Franny’s Big Zoo Rescue’ are available in paperback and Kindle at www.amazon.co.uk or www.grannyfrannysbigredbus.com
Follow the adventures of Sonia Beldom’s children’s books at www.grannyfrannysbigredbus.com
As it’s International Monkey Day, we thought we would bring together the best of the best board books about monkeys for your own little monkey at home! Here are our favourites, let us know if there are any you enjoy reading to your little one and indeed if we have missed out your favourite!... to read more click HERE