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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Useful Links

Community Events

  • Westhoughton Library
    Library now open again for books, general reading and computer access. Some activities downstairs, but with refurbishment still ongoing upstairs access for community activities will remain closed for time being. Info | Community Plans.
  • Summer of Fun #HAF2022
    Summer Holidays
    Westhoughton
    Programme of activities (25/7 to 2/9) for children. Many free, some a small charge. Extended sessions for children of all ages at various locations. #HAF2022 Info | Westhoughton.
  • Eatock Lodge Conservation
    Sun 7 Aug (10am-2pm)
    Bolton Conservation Volunteers on site to do some conservation and maintenance tasks at Local Nature Reserve. Supervised, helpers welcome with help with clearing overgrown hill area and create dead-hedges for wildlife.
  • Senior Solutions Fair & AGM
    Fair - Sat 13 Aug (11am-1pm)
    AGM - Tues 27 Sept (2-3pm)
    Winifred Kettle Centre (BL5 2NG)
    Summer Fair to showcase and promote work of senior and carer support organisation. Stalls, food, things to entertain. Later in Sept Annual General Meeting with update of activities, Trustees reports, and plans for year ahead.
  • 'Rhyme for Reason' / 'Alright on the Night'
    Fri/Sat 9/10 Sept (7:30pm)
    Cornerstone ADS (formerly Westhoughton Methodist ADS) welcome you to an evening of two new short plays, giving all the players a chance to perform. Tkts £5 (include light refreshments). Doors 7pm.
  • You Still Can't Stop The Beat
    Thurs - Fri 22-24* Sept (2pm* / 7:15pm)
    St James's C of E High School, Farnworth (BL4 9RU)
    Soon to celebrate 50th year of performing the Bethel Crowd takes to the stage in Farnworth for a run of its musical revue show 'You Still Can't Stop The Beat'. Tkts £6. Matinee on Saturday.
  • Allotment & Gardening Society
    Thurs 21 July (7:00pm)
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Mtg of new Westhoughton volunteer group (21/4//22) aiming to take on upkeep of plants and floral displays around town centre, as well as other gardening projects. Speaker: Christopher Nightingale; Theme: Sow, Grow and Show
  • 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 Doors' drop-in - refreshments (also Grub Tub donations) - next 6/8. Messy Church (Kids activities) - 10/9.
  • 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. New meeting venue. Updated programme.
  • History Group
    Regular meetings and historical projects. Whilst library closed to community groups meetings continue at The Hub. News and updates followed by Speaker. .
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    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.
  • 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 there is a return to normal. Watch for updates as community re-engages here and on
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • 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.
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council.
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