An ex-Raynes Park Vale football player has written a children’s picture book about improving wellbeing through football.

David Vaughan wrote Harry Heal the Friendly Footballer which is aimed at three to six year olds and discusses children’s mental health.

The 41-year-old from Morden used to coach children’s football and is now a trainee Sports Psychologist at Roehampton University.

Wimbledon Times:

He decided to write the book after “experiencing the mental and physical ups and downs of competitive sport”.

David played for Raynes Park Vale for around five years along with Morden Little League.

David told the Wimbledon Times: “I was dealing with a lot of anxiety myself when I was quite young.

“I felt like nobody has done a book like this for children and maybe this could be helpful for those kids who are going to new environments, schools, big matches or sports days.”

Wimbledon Times:

David has launched a Crowdfunder to help publish physical copies of the book, which is currently backed by 49 people. 

The target of £6,364 will cover the costs of production, including the illustrations, design, printing, marketing and sales of the book.

After this target is met, five per cent of each book sold will be donated to a mental health charity of David’s choice.

Perks of supporting the scheme include t-shirts, digital and physical copies of the books and even in-person readings by David.

The type of perk received depends on how much is donated to the scheme.

David recently read the book to a class at Hatfield Primary School, which he also attended as a child. 


“They were asking me ‘is that footballer based on Harry Kane?’ and ‘who’s your favourite team?’ and they were pretending to kick the football with me as I was reading through the book,” David explained. 

David said that the kids loved it and he would be thrilled to do more of these events in schools.

“It’s a bit of a geography lesson as well, as Harry in the book goes around the world and meets different mentors along the way, he visits a different country each time,” he said.

“They were asking ‘what is this country?’ and ‘what is that kid’s country?’ which was quite lovely.

“The world we live in is diverse and kids want to see themselves in the book.

“I wanted to present that football is a global sport and it’s for absolutely everybody.”

David hopes that this book will be a great tool in helping parents discuss mental health with their children.

He said: “To have a book like this available at such a young age would make the kids themselves more aware of it but also more confident on how to express themselves if they are feeling anxious or depressed.”

David said while he had seen plenty of kids’ books about wellbeing, he had not come across one that combines both mental health and sport.

Wimbledon Times:

He said: “It can be such a competitive and intense environment.

“The book has a huge emphasis on coaching the young kids that it's not about winning or losing, it's about enjoying it.”

You can support the Crowdfunder on Indiegogo here.