Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

Westhoughton Poetry Group

About Us

The group was set up by retired police officer, John Crook. John was suffering from Tinnitus and was struggling with a way to cope with it; creativity, and in John's case, writing and poetry was one way of dealing with it. John's first poem 'Tinnitus' (below).

A few years ago, John went looking for a local poetry group at Westhoughton Library, to be told there wasn't one! Inspiring him to set one up himself. The library staff have been very helpful, making available space on the upper floor, and having given the fledgeling group a regular slot of 2pm on the last Thursday of the month; posters were put up to try to attract some like-minded people, who had a love of poetry and some free time…

At the moment the group is relatively small with a core few who attend each meeting. People come to read or hear existing poetry (Wordworth, Auden, Yates, Frost…); some of the group are published poets in their own right and will attend and read out their latest compositions.

During the 1½ hour session, there is discussion of favourite poets and poems, and any outings and cultural experiences in between the meetings. No pretensions, just the joy of the written word - the use of language, the rhythm, the imagery, the prose…

Some members have never written any poetry and just want to hear some poetry read out loud. Like music, a poem can be performed and can produce an emotional reaction. Some meetings are themed, and the group can choose - sometimes these themes will set in motion the creative process and new works will be the result.

After a brief hiatus in 2016, with an alternative group being set up and meeting at Bolton Central Library (Le Mans Crescent) the first Monday in the month (from 2pm) in the main central area, Westhoughton Poetry Group returned to Westhoughton Library early in 2017, meeting afternoons on the last Thursday of the month.

Last meet-up - Thursday, 26th March - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
meetings suspended for Covid-19 'Social Distancing'.

Community

As the group develops and word spreads, opportunities arise for involvement in community activities. In 2015, as part of National Poetry Day, five local schools had presentations, after which, pupils were given an opportunity to write a poem about the day. A great success - some 300 poems were submitted to Westhoughton Poetry Group for judging. A further event, organised by the Schools' Liaison Officer, was put on with entertainment and the presentation of certificates to the competition winners. Great to see creativity encouraged! Johnny is a regular guest reciting his verse at Senior Solutions social events and OAP Residents' Homes.

Mirth and Verse - a book of poetry by Johnny CrookIn early 2019, marking another stage of his creative journey, Johnny Crook had his very first book of poems published - My Tinnitus Created Mirth and Verse: a collection of poetry that Johnny wrote to distract him from the discomfort brought by his tinnitus.

Johnny's book is now available on Amazon.

You can also now listen to Johnny online as he hosts 'Johnny C's Poetry Corner', Wednesday afternoons 2-3pm on local community radio station Howfen Radio.

Poem of the Month

AND SO IT CAME TO PASS


And so it came to pass
As my mind rebelled against my tinnitus
That poetry came to my mind
Which at first i thought; oh, so kind
So many words
In so many rhymes
I could fill a book with them
And they’d all be mine
Time after time
And
So, it came to pass
Twelve years on
I still have my tinnitus
Plus a book filled with rhythm and rhyme.

by Johnny Crook (May 2020)

Download

Previous 'Poems of the Month'

Covid-19 by Ted Morgan (2020) | A Wind Of Folly | Christmas Poem 2019 by Ted Morgan (2019) | I'm Never (2019) | Impress The Lady You Love (2014) | If You Lend Me Your Ears (2018) | Nativity by Ted Morgan (2018) | Autumn (2015) | You May Like To (2018) | The Fire On Winter Hill (Part 2) | Is There A Place (2018) | 70 Years N.H.S. (2018) | A Patient Reader (2018) | Can We 2015) | Why Am I Here by Ann Robinson (2015) | Autumn (2015) | Halloween (2015) | My Only Wish (2016) | My Time As A Town Crier (2016) | A Book Of War Poems (2017) | If Poetry Be The Food of Love (2017) | The Starling (2015) | Happy New Year (2016) | Christmas Day (2015) | And As The Poet (2016) | Robin (2015) | Tinnitus (2008)

Poems written by Johnny Crook (The Howfen Bard) unless stated.


Town Crier

Westhoughton Town Crier, Johnny Crook Westhoughton Poetry Group leader, Johnny Crook, took on duties of Town Crier during the summer of 2016, and now adds a touch of colour, tradition, and street poetry and verse to local events including Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festivals, School Fayres, community group special events and AGMS. In full regalia with his trusty scroll for his verse, the Town Crier has become a popular addition to the Westhoughton scene. He has even been asked to attend and open other events, such as at the East Lancashire Railway.

For information about the services of the Town Crier for community events get in touch, he is only too happy to help out, and can if required come up with a special poem for any occasion.

Getting in Touch

All are welcome to join the group - whether a poet or someone who just enjoys hearing poetry. We are a friendly group; it is always nice to see new faces.

The main contact is Johnny Crook - email | phone - 07867 747765.

Facebook: Westhoughton Poetry Group on Facebook Westhoughton Poetry Group | Twitter: John Crook - Westhoughton Poetry Group on Twitter @john4ann

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Community Events

  • Lockdown information (Covid-19)
    For 16 months life and community was disrupted by measures to deal with the pandemic. It has been a long and impactful period, thankfully things are opening up again as things return to normal. Watch for updates as community re-engages here and on
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    ◊ Sat 11 Sept - Nelson
    ◊ Mon 13 Sept - Campion
    ◊ Sat 18 Sept - Bacup Borough
    After disruptions of recent times The Cutters are now playing again. New management, new signings and clubhouse improvements. Support your local team. KO Sat 3pm or Mon 7:45pm. £5 adults / £3 concession / £2 U18s / U12s free w/ adult.
    WCN has been providing community news and features for home game programmes.
  • Speaker Events
    Both and the have been holding monthly 'open' Zoom speaker events. See Facebook for details.
  • St. James Church (Daisy Hill)
    Heritage Lottery funded restoration work on the bell tower completed. Now off the 'at risk' register. Fascinating short about the project.
    1st Sat of mth (10-12) open for Grub Tub donations. Heritage Open Day Festival 13-19 Sept (online); Church Open 18-19 Sept.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:00pm
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. The group is to resume meetings from 2nd September at its new home. Updated programme.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market Street focus) were consulted upon in 2019-20 with a Steering Group meeting to discuss plans for £4m investment and significant changes to Market Street, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. Revised plan now approved.
  • New Support Services
    Two new services have commenced during Lockdown to support local community and vulnerable: Covid Assist and Westhoughton One Stop Shop.
  • Westhoughton Library
    Did you know as well as books, computers and newspapers, your local Library provides Bolton Council One-Stop Shop services and is a base for many community groups and special events!
    Library now open for book lending and computer use, will open for community groups again in September. A Libraries & Museums Service Review (2021) affecting opening hours pending.
  • Civic Awards
    Recipients of Westhoughton Town Council Civic Awards 2020 for service to the local community 2021 are David Kaye and Linda Winrow, who will also share the Harold Daniels Trophy. Presentation evening 2020 (25/1/20)
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council.
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