Friday, 24 September 2021

War poet honoured by village

RESIDENTS of Dunsden have honoured First World War poet Wilfred Owen, who once lived in the village

RESIDENTS of Dunsden have honoured First World War poet Wilfred Owen, who once lived in the village.

They staged a spring festival on Sunday which included poetry readings, games, Maypole dancing and the launch of a visitors trail.

Owen lived in the village from September 1911 to February 1913, when he was lay assistant at All Saints? Church. He died in action in Ors on November 4, 1918, a few days before the official end of the war. The trail shows his links to the village, including the church where his sister and parents are buried, the Dunsden School which he helped to run and a thatched cottage where Owen visited a family of 12 that had to sleep in two small rooms.

Visitors can follow it by downloading a smartphone app created by the Dunsden Owen Association with £22,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The interactive app uses stories and recorded extracts of Wilfred?s letters and was developed by Jennifer Leach of Outrider Anthems, who co-chairs the association. More than 600 letters that Owen wrote to his mother were found at the family?s former home in Albington Drive, Emmer Green.

Alice McGuigan, who organised the launch of the app, said: ?A lot of people were downloading the app and using it straight away. We also had paper copies available for people who didn't have a smart phone.?


Award-winning poet Martin Malone read some of his and Owen?s poems as well hosting a discussion on First World War poetry at the village hall for about 100 people.

The festival also included games of horseshoes and Aunt Sally, dressing up in First World War era costumes and performances by accordion player Mike Ruff. It raised about £170 for the association.


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