Saturday 8 June 2024

Saturday Sample: Lancashire Writers of Today, a half of mild




Any anthology of writing is like a treasure chest. You know it will be full of good things, and every time you dip into it, you bring out something unexpected, unique, rich and glorious. The treasure chest you hold in your hands has another bonus. The writers whose work appears here have two advantages over contributors to other anthologies. First, they belong to Lancashire, a county of contrasts, coastline, countryside, bustling towns, wide open spaces, and characters with the warmth, wit and wisdom to cheer and inspire. Also, they belong to an association that has been in existence for more than a century, putting into practice its intention to promote the study of Lancashire literature, history, traditions and dialect.

The association provides fellowship and support for all its members - practising authors, readers, and anyone who loves literature, history and the Lancashire experience. Its meetings are lively, with interesting guest speakers and a platform for airing work. Its magazines and newsletters are crammed with features, stories and poems. Its competitions encourage members to extend the range of their writing and produce top quality material.

In this book you will find a wealth of contemporary writing, the winning entries in various competitions, including the latest winner of the Writer of the Year award. This is your treasure chest. Lift the lid - and prepare yourself for a treat.

Alison Chisholm





Any free verse in Standard English

(Not exceeding 100 Lines)

Adjudicator: David Lythgoe

1st On the Verdant Banks of the Ribble by Peter Foster

2nd Chromosomes by Frank Gibson

3rd Remnant of War by Frank Gibson




On The Verdant Banks of the Ribble

Peter Foster


What was there before? Before the war birds

Came to the verdant banks of the Ribble:

Hedgerows, meadows, hay crops and pastures


Broken only by bird-song or the chattering of the

Mowing machine knife and the thrum of a tractor;

Out on the marsh the report of a fowler’s gun,

Or in the early mist a fog-horn’s bellow from the river.

First came theodolite, then the dozers and graders

Gouging out a gash through the Fylde coast clay, making way

For Uncle Sam’s horsemen riding out from Savannah

Through clouds and waves the cavalry came to save the day

An ocean apart, bound by a fractious history and blood:

Good ol’ boys from Dixie to the red rose county coast:

Symbols from other wars, or maybe it’s the same war!

Yes, the cavalry came, the ‘boogie woogie bugle boys’

With fire and fear in their hearts and death in their sights,

America’s finest, sent into the war-stormed skies of Europe

Their mission: to liberate the innocent from evil, but when

A storm ceased to be a metaphor on those verdant river banks

A Liberator became the unintended executioner of innocents

And a generation found the eternal silence of the grave.


On the 23 August 1944 a B24 Liberator bomber crashed into Freckleton village school during a violent storm, destroying the infant class and causing damage to surrounding houses and a café. Two planes had taken off on a test flight from nearby Warton USAF base (now BAE Systems) at 10:30. One escaped the storm, the other crashed and the school clock stopped at 10:47. After the storm it was a beautiful summer’s day.

In total 61 people died that day: 38 children, 2 teachers, 7 civilians, 4 RAF servicemen and 10 USAF servicemen including the pilot and crew of the stricken aircraft. 

Find your copy here 

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