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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Floods of verse that celebrate Cockermouth's recovery

Dozens of Cumbrian writers were in Cockermouth this week to celebrate the official launch of a new poetry anthology.

BOOK DAY: Joan Hetherington, front left, and Michael Baron, front right, with, from back left to right, Castlegate Gallery owners Steve and Christine Swallow, Karen Sawrey, who designed the layout, Diana Clark, from Save the Children, and Derek Eland, who designed the front cover at the official launch of The Cockermouth Poets

The anthology has been put together by Michael Baron, 84, of South Street, Cockermouth, and Joan Hetherington, of Dovenby, after more than 30 poems were displayed in the town’s shop windows to mark the first anniversary of the 2009 floods.

The anthology features 85 pieces of work, written by poets linked with Cockermouth past or present, or who have visited the town and made reference to it.

The Cockermouth Poets features work by William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who stayed at the town’s Globe Hotel, actress Joyce Grenfell, former and current poet laureates Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy, who have both visited the town, along with many other local people.

Carlisle artist Derek Eland provided watercolour illustrations, Karen Sawrey designed the layout and Lady Egremont wrote the introduction.

It was officially launched at the town’s Castlegate Gallery on Monday.

Mr Baron and Mrs Hetherington raised £2,500 to put the anthology together including donations from the Times & Star, Cockermouth and District Neighbourhood Forum and Cockermouth Soroptimists.

Mr Baron said: “There was so much support given to the town after the 2009 floods and we had so much work exhibited in the shop windows.

“We have been helped by a number of organisations and the anthology features 85 poets whether dead or alive.

“The New Bookshop have also been a great help in displaying the book and the poems.”

Martin Chambers, of Cockermouth, is one of the local writers featured in the anthology.

He said: “It has been an interesting project and nice to be involved in something that celebrates the town.

“I saw the poems when they were displayed around the town and Michael asked me to write one.

“My poem focuses on the 24-hour period during the floods, what happened in Cockermouth and the aftermath.”

Marita Over, of Brigham said: “I am really proud to have been featured and it is a fantastic thing that Michael and Joan have done.

“There has been so much enthusiasm in putting it together so I have felt quite privileged to be involved.”

Proceeds from the book, which costs £8.50, will be donated to Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team and Save the Children.

It is on sale at The New Bookshop in Cockermouth and Bookends in Keswick.

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