Poetic pigeons deliver sealed verse for town

Pigeons are released fron Wakefield Cathedral carrying poems en route to Trinity Church, Ossett, for Ossett's Festival in a day.
Pigeons are released fron Wakefield Cathedral carrying poems en route to Trinity Church, Ossett, for Ossett's Festival in a day.

A flock of pigeons carrying poetry flew into Ossett for the town’s Festival in a Day.

The birds set off from Wakefield Cathedral and brought sealed bottles containing extracts of poems – created by children from Ossett Primary schools and read out as the arrived to the town – as part of the city’s Lit Fest which kicked off last weekend.

Aaron Dewhurst from Chickenley, Dewsbury, with Lauren 11 and Hollie Asquith 8 of Gawthorpe Academy,'who took part in the release of pigeons from Wakefield Cathedral with poems tied to their legs en route for Trinity Church, Ossett, as part of Ossett's Festival in a day.

Aaron Dewhurst from Chickenley, Dewsbury, with Lauren 11 and Hollie Asquith 8 of Gawthorpe Academy,'who took part in the release of pigeons from Wakefield Cathedral with poems tied to their legs en route for Trinity Church, Ossett, as part of Ossett's Festival in a day.

The one-day festival, which partners Lit Fest, brought words to life as more than 1,000 people took part in a host of reading and writing activities at the town’s Trinity Church on Saturday.

Headlining the literary-packed day was poet Roger McGough CBE who gave poetry readings from his new book, As Far As I Know, while children were invited to a Doodle Ventures storytelling workshop, led by artist Fabric Lenny and musician Ric Neale.

The festival was organised by Ossett Observer, Trinity Church and Wakefield Council in partnership with the city’s literary festival, which is programmed by arts charity Beam.

Author Ian Clayton hosted a Book in a Day writing workshop, exploring Ossett’s present and past and A Firm of Poets gave spoken word performances – Ossett There, Bus It Back – on the 127 bus between Ossett and Wakefield on the day.

Fran Smith, Lit Fest manager at Beam, said: “We were delighted by the warm response with which Festival in a Day was met in Ossett.

“It was a delightful day and we’d like to thank everyone who took part, all the volunteers and our partners Ossett Observer and Trinity Church for their hard work and Wakefield Council for their support of the event.”

There was also a pop-up museum at the festival which showcased stories from the Ossett Observer dating back to 1864.

The city’s third annual Lit Fest began on September 18 and literary stars have already led talks, sessions and workshops at city centre venues including poet Jackie Kay on Friday, Simon Armitage on Sunday, author Will Self on Tuesday and author Joanne Harris on Thursday.

Comedian and writer Mark Thomas is speaking at the Wakefield Labour Club on Saturday at 3pm and Ian McMillan will be reading some of his poetry during a discussion session at The Orangery at 5pm until 7pm.

On Monday, columnist and BBC radio presenter Stuart Maconie will be speaking at the Theatre Royal from 8pm until 10pm about his novel, The People’s Songs.

Lit Fest runs until Tuesday and also features more than 60 family events and activities, with a local authors writing fair and seed-funded events organised by local groups and individuals including an Interactive Story Time and Puppet Show for toddlers at Mulberry House Nursery, an Open Book Day at Nostell Priory, and a Castle of Dreams Wordwalk around Sandal Castle.

For more information, to book tickets or for the full line-up, visit www.wakefieldlitfest.org.uk.