Was my great gran the inspiration behind Roald Dahl's character, Matilda?

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Kayleigh Vinn and her daughter Matilda, with a picture of great-grandmother Matilda Owen Kayleigh Vinn and her daughter Matilda, with a picture of great-grandmother Matilda Owen

Did a bakery shop assistant inspire a renowned children's author to create one of his most famous characters?

Matilda Martha Owen, who lived in Downs Road, Maldon, for about 50 years, met Roald Dahl in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where he worked for Shell oil company in 1938.

Fifty years later, his book Matilda, about a little girl with special powers, was published - and Mrs Owen told her family the character was named after her.

Now her great granddaughter, Kayleigh Vinn - who is reading the book to her own two-year-old daughter, also called Matilda - hopes to find out more about the pair's friendship and if the family story is true.

* Read the full story in today's Standard.

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