CHILDREN were treated to a talk by a popular children’s author and an appearance by a television star in an event to boost funds for Colchester Roman Circus Appeal.

Caroline Lawrence shared her wealth of knowledge on the subject of ancient Rome when she gave a talk, based on a day at the Circus Maximus.

It was especially devised for her appearance in the town.

About 100 youngsters, their parents and grandparents supported the event at the Colchester Arts Centre.

It was one of a number of events being put on in to raise enough money to save the Roman circus and preserve it for future generations.

Dressed in traditional Roman clothes, Ms Lawrence spoke to the audience about her series of 18 books, the Roman Mysteries, how she came up with her characters and her different themes before giving a description of what would have happened at a chariot race.

She also focused on what the race track at Colchester would have looked like and brought a replica of the Colchester beaker made to commemorate race days.

Ms Lawrence, who lives in London and is originally from California, said: “Pieces of it were found at Colchester and no-one knew why such a beaker would have been in Colchester, then the roman circus was discovered and it all made sense.

“I got some friends of mine to make me an exact replica.”

Ms Lawrence was joined on stage by 16-year-old Colchester actress Millie Binks to talk about her experiences appearing in two television series adapted from the books.

After a question and answer session, the duo signed copies of Ms Lawrence’s books, which were included in the ticket price.

Ms Lawrence added: “It is brilliant to be involved in something like this.

“Instead of having homes on top, it is essential to preserve the starting gates.”