Knowing she was dying, a mother wrote a heart-rending farewell letter to her young daughter and tucked it inside a book.

She hoped her little girl would one day find comfort in knowing her mum was still watching over her after going to "live with the angels".

But the letter was never found by the youngster. Fifteen years on, it has been discovered - still hidden inside the book - in a second-hand bookshop.

Owner Gordon Draper unearthed the emotional goodbye, along with a photograph of the mother and her daughter, while sorting through a pile of old tomes. He is now trying to find the girl to whom the note was addressed. In the letter, which was inside a fragile envelope, the mother refers to her daughter Bethany as 'my little treasure'.


She says: "My chest was very poorly and I had an operation to make it better but it didn't work. I will always be in the sky make sure you are alright and watching over you so when you see a bright star like in the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, that's me."

Mr Draper, who runs Bondgate Books in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, said he cried when he read the letter on Friday.

The 52-year-old said: "I couldn't really take it in. It was upsetting for me to read it." Mr Draper says he recognised the mother in the photo as a woman who came into the shop to buy a job lot of children's books about 15 years ago. "She really spoiled her with all the Beatrix Potter set and Paddington Bear books and could not have emphasised more that books meant a lot and she wanted to leave her something - this little girl might still have them," he said.

It is not known how the book ended up in the shop but Mr Draper said it could have happened when a book was exchanged for another one - a service he offers. He added: "I would like to reunite the letter with Bethany, that would be my wish because it is just so sad."