LITERARY characters spilled out onto the streets of Abingdon as well-known authors visited the town to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week.

The national event, held last month to highlight the importance of local retailers, inspired Mostly Books owner Sarah Dennis to organise a week of activities at the Stert Street shop.

Children’s favourites the Gruffalo and Hugless Douglas made appearances, as did a collection of authors which included crime writer Lucy Atkins, children's author James Bishop and young adult writer Sally Nicholls.

The trio were at the shop on June 16 for a party to celebrate Mostly Books being under new management for a year.

Mark and Nicki Thornton, who opened the Stert Street book shop in 2006, officially passed on the keys to Ms Dennis last June.

The Chipping Norton resident previously worked in a Waterstones book shop, but spent much of her career as a project manager in finance.

Though a relative newcomer to the trade, she dreamt of opening her own bookstore after being inspired by one in Scotland.

She said: “I still can't quite believe it's been a year. It can always be a bit of a risky thing taking over a business because people tend to like things to stay the same.

“What I’ve tried to do is build on what Nicki and Mark did but freshen things up and put my own spin on the business.”

She added: "What has been so nice for me is how supportive the community have been."

In the past 12 months she has overseen a complete revamp of the inside of the book shop, including a mural in the children’s reading area by Hugless Douglas creator and Abingdon local David Melling, as well as working more closely with local schools and hosting more author events.

Mr Melling was also part of the week of events, which took place between June 16-23, holding a workshop for youngsters about how he creates his books.

Hugless Douglas was also there in person and took to the streets of Abingdon to say hello to local fans.

Ms Dennis said: "It was a great week of events and we ended up making this Independent Bookshop Week focused largely on children's literature.

"We are quite unusual in that we give a 50/50 weighting to children's and adults books. It's really fostering that love of reading in the next generation."

She added: "I think independent bookshops are more than just a place to buy things but can act as a hub in the community.

"That is certainly the case with us and one of the things I pride myself on is the level of personal customer service.

"All the staff know the stock and can offer recommendations."

The next event at the shop will be a visit by children's author Tom Moorhouse tomorrow from 2.30pm.

Email to reserve a ticket.