THE Sandbanks chain ferry has been given a heroic role in a heart-warming children’s story.

Robin Hutchinson, from Surbiton, has been using the ferry for around 20 years to visit Swanage on holiday after falling in love with the area.

While making the crossing one day, he noticed the sound of the chains passing through the ferry’s engine made a chugging sound, inspiring the name Chug.

The author set about writing an adventure starring Chug, which sees the big-hearted chain ferry come to the rescue of a larger ferry on a stormy December day by breaking free of its chains.

Proceeds from the book’s sale are being donated to Swanage Lifeboat Station and Robin said over £1,000 had been raised so far.

“When talking with the people at Swanage Lifeboat, it struck me how nice it would be to write a story about Chug being a hero,” he explained.

“A great friend of mine – Gavin Blann – did the illustrations, which were quite astonishing. It’s so recognisably Chug, and he’s become a real character.”

“The response to the book has been really lovely – just recently I had a message from someone who said it was a beautiful story, and they all had tears in their eyes when reading it.

“I did test the story on my two grandchildren first to see if they fell asleep or not – but, fortunately, they loved it.”

A new edition of the book was released four weeks ago, and an audio version of the story with illustrations has also been created.

“We’re even selling it on Amazon - and it’s hilarious because I’m getting orders from all over the country,” Robin added.

The book can be bought from Peverils and the Swanage Lifeboat shop.