A BROMSGROVE woman has seen her first book published.

And Sheila Hartwell's new book, My Zimbabwean Odyssey, is raising money to help African youngsters into further education.

The Norton resident was born in Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwe, in 1952.

Sheila left Zimbabwe with her English husband, Mike, to settle in the UK in 1986.

She was inspired to write the book, which is full of memories of her childhood in Africa, after a visit in early 2013.

Sheila said: "My book tells of my return to my beloved homeland, 15 years after my last visit.

"Before arriving I was forewarned that I will weep at the state of the country and I share with the reader my shock and sadness at what I find – a nation once considered the bread basket of Africa now reduced to a ‘basket case’."

During the visit Sheila returned to the Harare Children’s Home, where she was brought up during the 1960s.

Sheila said: "It is a place so close to my heart and so run down that upon my return to the UK I was determined in some way to help the children at the home, thus giving them the same opportunities I had all those years ago.

"As such, the idea of writing a book was born and a part of the proceeds from sales of the book, in all its formats, will go towards sponsoring these children into further education."

Sheila added that one girl who had been sponsored had already been able to go to college on a dressmaking course.

The book is available through Amazon.com, Authorhouse UK, and to download on Google Play.