THE SNJ would like to wish celebrity writer Jilly Cooper a very happy 77th birthday.

Jilly,who lives in Bisley, near Stroud had huge success with her first novel Riders, published in 1985 and reaching number one in the best sellers list in its first week, was entirely due, she says, to her move to Bisley.

'I was trying to write Riders in London and failing miserably, because it was set in the country. Then there was the fact that we were so broke that the bank said we would have to sell our lovely house here. It was quite and incentive to write better and more quickly,' she said.

She went on to write the blockbusters Rivals and Polo, and then Appassionata about an orchestra, set in the west country and including many references to Stroud. Other novels include The Man who Made Husbands Jealous and Score!.

As well as the best sellers Jilly has written countless popular non-fiction books, including Women and Superwomen (1974), How to Survive Christmas (1986) and The Common Years (1982) about her dog walking exploits on the commons of south west London. She has also written a series of romantic novels and many children's books.