Tusitala Victoria 2013 (reprinted 2015) ISBN 978-0-9947794
THIS COLLECTION DRAWS FROM MY POETRY WRITING accumulated over two or three years. Following on from a similar successful fund-raising venture for the Multiple Sclerosis Society in the north of England, I approached the MS Society of Canada shortly after becoming resident with an idea for a further volume of my new poems. As my previous volume was illustrated, we developed the idea of combining with some of the output of members of the Victoria MS Society Art Therapy Group.
Collaborating with members of the group was a heartening and enjoyable experience. In most cases the artists produced new work to fit one of my poems. In three cases I wrote a poem to fit a painting. We used seventeen paintings and combined them with forty-three poems. Scott Wingfield of Art Ink was the designer. Financial support came from the Chadwick Foundation.
Of course, we wanted to raise much needed funds for the essential work of the MS Society, but this little volume goes beyond that. I believe that it is an important positive signal about what can be achieved by those who work their way around the difficulties which MS brings to produce paintings of beauty and charm.
I am proud to be associated with this initiative and very grateful for the opportunity to work with the artists.
I met Peter on my first day at school. He was a relatively near neighbour of ours on the edge of Loxley village in South Yorkshire not far from the big steel city of Sheffield. Our dairy farm at Loxley House Farm was about fifteen minutes’ walk away across the fields from Peter’s home. That snowy day in 1947 was the beginning of eleven years attending the same schools and playing numerous games of football (as in real football with a round ball) and cricket together. We watched many Sheffield Wednesday games together and remained friends despite my absence at times overseas. Peter, who was a fully qualified accountant and financial adviser, continued to play cricket until he realised that his hand eye coordination had deteriorated well beyond what was normal for his age and level of fitness.
After he found he had MS and after another friend was also diagnosed I decided that when I could I would raise funds and support research and the therapeutic care for those living with the disease. My first involvement was a 32 mile walk from Bradford (where I had worked in the university for many years) to home to coincide with my 60th birthday. This eventually produced over £1,500 in sponsorship. A self-published book of poetry titled Blackberries followed in 2006 raising a similar amount. Since moving to Canada I have published two collections of poetry in 2013 (reprinted 2015) and 2016 with all the revenue to MS charities. I have also allocated all profits from sales of my two books of short stories (2012 and 2015) to the same cause as well as earnings from my ‘Just Like Downton’ presentations.
Richard and Gwenda Chadwick have provided me with generous financial backing for the production of ‘Chasing Crows’ and ‘Apple Man’ from their Chadwick Foundation. Richard and I lived in the same university residence in Leeds for four years from 1960 and have been friends ever since. He was my best man when Elaine and I were married and vice versa the following year when he and Gwenda were married.