A 98-year-old RAF veteran has helped set up several 'wee libraries' for his community to enjoy.

Great-grandfather Ray Frewing has handmade the small libraries for the village of Compton, West Berkshire, where locals can book-swap.

The little libraries have proved hugely popular during the pandemic, with local authority libraries being forced to close their doors.

Woodwork expert Ray has also raised hundreds of pounds for his local Food Bank during the pandemic, from selling his handmade bird tables.

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Widower Ray moved to Compton last year after living most of his life in Gloucestershire. He moved in with his daughter Jane Gartshore and it didn’t take him long to get stuck into village life.

Jane said: “Dad has done voluntary work for as long as I can remember. He likes making things, especially from timber. So he was keen to make a wee library for Compton. He has now made four in total as well as 35 bird boxes and about a dozen bird tables to raise money for the local food bank.”

Ray Frewing

Ray Frewing

The ‘wee library’ idea began during lockdown one early last year, when villagers donated books to create an informal library in the covered garden area of the Foinavon, the pub at the heart of the village.

When the pub was given the green light to trade again, the library needed a new home. Locals gathered together in a joint community effort to instal the first little library - an idea suggested by a villager who saw something similar in Ireland. Soon after, three other libraries were erected around Compton.

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Ray, whose father was a master builder, loved construction from a young age and trained as an architect before being called up for the RAF during the Second World War.

Ray was keen to help his new neighbours set up the community facility for all to enjoy. He said: “I am happy to be keeping busy and doing something practical and useful for the village while I am not allowed out.”