Dolly Parton says 'ay up me duck' at book scheme launch

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Media captionDolly is not the first celebrity to say 'ay up me duck' - Angelina Jolie famously uttered the phrase during a Hollywood awards ceremony

Dolly Parton has become the latest celebrity to use the phrase "ay up me duck".

The country singer gave the East Midlands greeting in a video address to launch her Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Nottingham.

The scheme sends free books to children from birth until their fifth birthday.

Parton followed Angelina Jolie, who baffled audience members in Hollywood when she said "ay up me duck" to Derby actor Jack O'Connell.

Her book scheme is already running in Bilborough, Hyson Green, Radford, Dunkirk and Lenton for several years.

The city council hopes the scheme, which is being extended to Aspley, Arboretum, Bulwell and St Ann's, will improve child literacy rates.

'Greater confidence'

In Nottingham, only 60% of four-year-olds meet expected reading standards - compared to the national average of 74%, the authority said.

The initiative is being rolled out as part of the £45m Small Steps Big Changes project, which the council said was set up to give those aged three and under "a better start in life".

Councillor David Mellen said: "Through working together with Dolly's charity we can encourage more parents to explore books at home with their children.

"We know this will help them to start school with a much greater confidence."

Dolly Parton said: "This program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children in our communities.

"I am most proud of the fact that every child in the Imagination Library does not have to grow up without books in their home."

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