Caroline Tomlinson remembers her mother, Pam Shirley of Ragged Bears Ltd.
Pam Shirley spent the happiest years of her life as the wife and best friend of her husband, Charles. Together in 1984 they supported each other in creating Ragged Bears, a firm that grew to publish and distribute children’s book publishing lists from around the world. Charles died in 1995, leaving Pam bereft but keen to continue their work. She grew the company to a turnover of £3 million by the late 1990s. In 2003 on the birth of her sixth grandchild and first granddaughter she moved to Somerset to be near her growing family. From here she continued to run Ragged Bears, though with a smaller distribution list suiting her new family lifestyle.
One would not dare to presume she had retired! Latterly she was to be found ascending ladders at the warehouse, filling boxes with books to be sent to her customers. Pam thrived on the social, as well as professional, interaction on the telephone! Working in the colourful and vibrant world of children’s books had allowed her to remain in touch with many friends she and Charles had made over the decades and to discover new colleagues. This was a very important part of her growing contentment with life in her later years. She was proud to be Mrs Charles Shirley and, as she often called herself, Mrs Ragged Bear.
Ragged Bears Ltd continues trading.