Poetry Festival ends on a high

Hereford Times: The Poet for Hire by the Market House. Pic by Gary Bills-Geddes The Poet for Hire by the Market House. Pic by Gary Bills-Geddes

WARM JULY sunshine helped to bring in the crowds for the last weekend of this year's Ledbury Poetry Festival.

On Saturday, July 12, there was plenty to see in the town centre, including the mysterious "Poet for Hire", complete with his typewriter by the Market House, and the Emergency Poet and her poetry ambulance man, parked up for artistic crises among the general public.

Festival finance manager, Sandra Dudley said of the Poet for Hire: "We actually didn't hire him; he came of his own accord, as someone who clearly got into the Festival spirit."

The Poetry Doctor, Deborah Alma, and poetry ambulanceman, James Sheard, were a talking point in the High Street, as they offered poetry as a cure for the ailments of modern life.

Visitors could see poetic prescriptions inside their 1970s ambulance.

On Sunday, July 13, Festival organisers were delighted with numbers that came out for the Ledbury Celebration, which featured stalls, live music and poets on Bye Street car park and the Orme and Slade car park, from noon to 6pm.

This was free, but Sandra Dudley, the Festival's finance manager said of the ticketed events: "The Box Office was certainly up on last year."

There were several sell-out events logged for the last weekend, including the celebration of Dylan Thomas, "The shadow of his hand", in the centenary anniversary of his birth; the Starting to Write Poetry Workshop and Bernard O'Donaghue, on Seamus Heaney.

Mrs Dudley said the Ledbury Celebration was also "a big success, definitely", attracting crowds estimated at 400 plus on Sunday afternoon.

She was a little worried by the light rain showers that were evident on Sunday morning; but they soon cleared up.

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