Ted Hughes lived in Mexborough during much of his young life and discovered his passion for poetry at the old Mexborough grammar school (now Mexborough Business Centre) where he studied.

Commissioned by the Ted Hughes Project, renowned sculpture Jane Robbins has created a stunning commemorative statue of Poet Laurette, Ted Hughes, that will be housed at the centre and open for visitors to come and view.

The statue is one of the first parts of a new Ted Hughes trail, currently being developed around Mexborough to allow people to discover Ted’s work and the area’s heritage. On Friday the 23rd of June 2017, Ed Miliband, MP, unveiled the statue, also marking the start of the weekend’s Ted Hughes Poetry Festival, hosted at the centre for its 3rd year.

At the unveiling of the commemorative figure of Ted, Ed Miliband, (MP) Peter Newman (business owner) and Sean Gibbons (Mexborough First councillor) all talked about the importance of events like these for attracting people to poetry, as well as rejuvenating the area and bringing people together, reminding them of the arts, heritage, history and sense of community that we are lucky to have in this part of Yorkshire and hopefully putting Mexborough back on the map as a town of great potential.

Pete Newman, the centre’s owner, is delighted to display the statue, as he is keen to preserve this historically important building and has been sympathetically restoring many of its original features, to produce a creative work space, which hopefully inspires the businesses who use it, as once it inspired our famous poet.

The festival had several hundred in the business centre across the weekend and organisers interacted with hundreds more via town centre activities, poetry walks and giveaways.

The vibe in the main hall was relaxed and welcoming. The performances were very enjoyable to watch, whether you are an enthusiast or not and they included Simon Armitage, CBE, English poet, playwright and novelist, Helen Mort, five-times winner of the Foyle Young Poets award, Jamaican-British dub poet, Linton Kweski Johnson, the only black poet to be published in the penguin modern classics, punk poet and editor of the poetry magazine ‘Rising’, Tim Wells and many others with music from folk and blues band Peg Powler. The organic mixing of performers, volunteers and audience was superb and audience feedback has been excellent.

The Ted-Hughes statue attracted a lot of positive comments and we are confident it will continue to draw people to come and take a look for many years to come.

We have had fantastic local support to make this new artwork happen. We want to attract fans of literature and poetry to visit Mexborough and discover its rich heritage and encourage more people into the world of creative writing.

Dominic Somers – Creative Producer of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival

The work has been supported by the Arts Council, Right Up Our Street, Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership and Mexborough Business Centre.

For more information, please visit www.tedhughesproject.com

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