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Broadcaster Mary Kennedy and author Debbie Deegan with Ms Kennedy’s granddaughter Holly Boland (1), and Maisie Lucey (5), at the launch of Ms Deegan’s book, 'The Tree By The Sea', at the Peace Tree in St Anne’s Park, Clontarf, Dublin. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy and author Debbie Deegan with Ms Kennedy’s granddaughter Holly Boland (1), and Maisie Lucey (5), at the launch of Ms Deegan’s book, 'The Tree By The Sea', at the Peace Tree in St Anne’s Park, Clontarf, Dublin. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy and author Debbie Deegan with Ms Kennedy’s granddaughter Holly Boland (1), and Maisie Lucey (5), at the launch of Ms Deegan’s book, 'The Tree By The Sea', at the Peace Tree in St Anne’s Park, Clontarf, Dublin. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

A new children’s book inspired by a ‘magical’ tree in a Dublin park will raise funds for a children’s charity that helps youngsters in Russian orphanages and in Ireland.

The Tree By The Sea by Debbie Deegan was sparked by the Peace Tree sculpture in St Anne’s Park in Clontarf, which was carved out of a cypress tree that was coming near the end of its life.

It features Katie the Bee and a gang of other animals, including Willomena Webster the Spider, Professor Tickle the Octopus, John Dory, Helga Heron and Tom Turtle, as they try to save their home.

Illustrator Bronagh Lee brought the characters to life for the book, with all proceeds going to Ms Deegan’s ‘To Children With Love’ charity.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy was on hand yesterday at the Peace Tree to help launch the book, with the production of the title supported by SuperValu, where it is also on sale.

The creators say the “nearly true” children’s book is “a celebration of animals and nature with a heartwarming story about the animals saving their home”.

“Katie the Bee reminds us that no matter how small we feel at times, we all have the power to do good.”

In 2018, Dublin City Council brought in renowned English tree sculptor Tommy Craggs to preserve the dying tree for the benefit of the community, creating a ‘wishing tree’ that is now a landmark in St Anne’s Park. Along with the book, Ms Deegan has also created a local nature website (thetreebythesea.ie) for teachers and children.

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