IT is World Book Day on Thursday and to mark the event we are taking a look at fun activities which saw South Cumbrian youngsters dressing up as a multitude of famous characters from literature 20 years ago.

The book event is now held in more than 100 countries and is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and the joy of reading.

It was established with the mission to give every child and young person around the globe a book of their own.

Looking back 20 years there was a flurry of activity on World Book Day while dozens of schools and nurseries arranged their own events during a wider book week.

Staff at Barrow’s Yarlside School got into the spirit of the event by all dressing as characters from Peter Pan while Victoria Infant School, Barrow, had a visit by poet and storyteller David Horner.

The Mail, on Monday, March 13 in 2000, noted: “There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and bookworms across Furness did exactly that on Friday.

“They were celebrating the third annual World Book Day. Schools, libraries and bookshops marked the occasion with a range of activities with many children dressing up as their favourite book characters.

“Ottakar’s in Portland Walk, Barrow, was amazed by the number of people who embraced the day.

“Floor manager Peg Topping said World Book Day was a big success in achieving its aim to encourage people to read.”

Mrs Topping said: “For many years reading had a dusty library and elderly image.This shows books are still deeply loved by people.

“There are some corners of your mind that TV and the internet cannot reach. A book is a private adventure, something between you and the author.”

Mrs Topping said hundreds of Barrovians were inspired to pick up a book.

She said: “We did twice as well as we thought we would.

“We had 20 per cent off everything so people were making the most of it.

“One woman bought £180 worth of DIY books.

“Some people bought novels they would not normally buy.”