AN Elmstead Market-based author is celebrating Easter early this year with the release of his new children’s novel – 'Tom Tunnel and the Easter Bunny'.

Paul Diggens is writing five books in the Tom Tunnel series.

For the past two decades, Paul's career required him to perform routing filming on railways, sitting at the second man's window of locomotives and trains and recording routes for driver training.

During this time, an idea blossomed to bring a tunnel to life - thus creating Tom Tunnel.

"There are 24,000 miles of track in England, Scotland and Wales, and I have been fortunate enough to cover all these lines," said Mr Diggens.

"Some of my journeys have been through tunnels, and there is a very long Totley Tunnel between Sheffield and Grindleford in the Midlands. This long tunnel of three miles 950 yards was the inspiration for my books."

Mr Diggens released his first book in the series last year, which laid out Tom Tunnel's backstory.

The character, Tom Tunnel narrates how he was constructed and recounts tales of those who have passed through him.

His friend, Bertie Bat, who resides within the tunnel, also makes an appearance in this book.

In this latest book, Tom Tunnel and the Easter Bunny, there is a concern over the Easter Bunny being late and having mysteriously turned red!

A derailment of the milk train to the chocolate egg factory also takes place, forcing readers to ask the question - 'will the Easter Egg hunt take place this year?'

This series is aimed at children aged three-nine, and has proven to be a favourite amongst the author's grandkids, to whom the Tom Tunnel books are dedicated.

Tom Tunnel and the Easter Bunny, retailing at £5.99, is published by Bumblee Books and can be bought from Amazon and all good bookstores.

The book, illustrated by Mr Diggens' long-time friend and colleague, Ted Toms, is now available.