Help needed for epic poem

DO you have memories of Ipswich over the years?If so, poet and storyteller John Row would like to hear from you – and your words could be included in an epic poem.

By Judy Rimmer

DO you have memories of Ipswich over the years?

If so, poet and storyteller John Row would like to hear from you – and your words could be included in an epic poem.

John, 54, from Belvedere Road, wants to put together an ambitious giant poem called I Remember, which will include the words of many people living in and around the town, from youngsters to pensioners.

"Everybody has memories, whether you are 70 or three years old, and we want to include as many people as possible," said John.

Over the next six weeks, he will regularly be visiting three community resource centres run by People in the Centre of Ipswich (PCI), in Austin Street, Grimwade Street and Bramford Road/Benezet Street.

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The centres are backed by the Ipswich Council for Voluntary Services (ICVS) and the project is being funded by Government money through the Community Chest scheme.

"People can drop in written stuff or if they want I can record their memories on to disc," said the well-known entertainer.

"It will be a celebration of Ipswich by people living in the area."

He is hoping to include the thoughts of people who have grown up in Ipswich and those who have moved to the town from other areas and parts of the world.

"When it's finished it would be great if we could turn the poem into a book and I would also like to bring out a CD of some of the memories," he said.

John has already written several pages of his own memories covering the period from the 1960s, when he moved to Ipswich, through to the 1970s.

One passage recalls his young days working on the buses in the town:

"Only that at knocking off time at Churchmans

The whole world seemed to be pushing its way on to a single decker to Chantry,

And someone had to tell the day shift we were full,

And no amount of moving up the bus was going to make room for everyone."

The idea stemmed out of a project to gather memories from around the country.

"I thought it would be good to do something more detailed about my own town," said John.

On Monday he will be starting to gather people's contributions at the community resource centres in Grimwade Street from 10am to noon and Bramford Road from 1 to 3pm. Then on Wednesday he will be at the Austin Street centre from 10am to noon. Anybody interested is welcome to drop in at these times.

John will also be spending one afternoon each week visiting groups and organisations who want to take part, which could vary form schools to retirement homes. If your group is interested, please contact John on 07803 751330.