READER LETTERS: Seize the time, poetry competitions, cycle lane funding and this year’s cygnets

Marina Pugh took these photos of this year's cygnets.

Marina Pugh took these photos of this year's cygnets. - Credit: Archant

Seize the time

Marina Pugh took these photos of this year's cygnets.

Marina Pugh took these photos of this year's cygnets. - Credit: Archant

Anti-racist protests have swept across the country and the world.

The spark that lit the fuse was the horrific murder of George Floyd by racist police in the US.

The protests are also for justice for all those who are still suffering from Grenfell; and justice for the Windrush generation at the sharp end of the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’.

The establishment politicians, Tory and Labour, have decried the toppling of a statue of slave trader and Tory MP, Edward Colston, in Bristol.

Colston shipped an estimated 84,000 people from Africa to the US as part of the establishment of capitalism there.

This is why the slogan, ‘the UK is not innocent’ has been taken up. Many young people recognise the need for fundamental change in the running of society.

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We have seen young people quoting Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, and others: for a joint, working-class fightback against all the social and economic injustices this system breeds.

All these black leaders were advocating, or moving towards, a socialist solution to the racism and class inequality of the capitalist system.

For a new generation of young people awakening into struggle, those socialist ideas are more relevant than ever.


Poetry competitions

Wisbech Reads is a partnership located in the Wisbech area whose focus is to improve literacy skills amongst both children and adults.

The partnership, which includes the county and town council, schools, Clarion Housing and local charities, believes that engaging the whole community and using trusted community assets to facilitate delivery will bring about sustainable results for the longer term.

For the past five years, they have held a Summer Reading Festival for primary school children in the Wisbech area.

In 2019, the festival took place over five days in July with nearly 600 Year 1 children from 17 local schools enjoying a variety of activities related to literacy, including meeting an author, exploring books in Wisbech Library, music and word games in the Castle grounds, and storytelling and related activities in Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

A similar event was being planned for 2020 but, as with so many events, this will not now be possible.

However, the organisers were undeterred and the Summer Reading Festival continues as a virtual event.

As in previous years, every Year 1 child who takes part will receive a book; this year it’s ‘The Music Man’s Song Book’ by local author Jon Lawrence, which is sponsored by The Library Presents funding.

Funding has also been received from the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Wisbech Town Council.

Activities related to the book will be sent out, in the second week of June, to schools to use in the classroom or encourage parents to use at home.

Activities will also be available online, including a storytelling activity, based on story dice and developed by the Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

The activities will tie-in with the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge theme: Silly Squad.

Children who successfully complete the activities will be presented with an Arts Award Discovery Certificate in the Autumn.

Also, during June and July, Wisbech Reads is running two online competitions based on poetry. The first is for Year 2 pupils.

In March this year, members of Wisbech Reads took a poetry festival into 10 local primary schools.

They worked with groups of Year 2 children to read and write poetry. The poems written by the children can be seen on the Wisbech Reads website but here is one example:

There’s a tiger in my school

And her name is Lily.

She eats popcorn for her tea

Which does sound rather silly.

She dances on the tables

And likes to read our books.

When visitors come to see us

They give her funny looks.

The competition for Year 2 children will ask them to produce some artwork to go with their poems.

The winning artwork will be included in the first Wisbech Reads poetry book and the winners will receive a Michael Rosen poetry book.

The second competition is aimed at children in Key Stage 2. They will be invited to write and illustrate a poem.

Guidance will be available on the web-site and the winning poems will also be included in the Wisbech Reads poetry book with the winners receiving a Michael Rosen book.

Further details will appear on our website and www.facebook.comWisbechReads Or search @ReadsWisbech on Twitter.


This year’s cygnets

Having had to ‘stay at home’ for such a long while, and knowing that this year’s cygnets would be taking their first outing down West End river any day now, for the last couple of days, I`ve been going out on my mobility scooter, camera at the ready, just incase I was lucky enough to see them to let all my friends know that our March swans have had seven cygnets this year.

Mum, dad and baby cygnets, all seem to be doing well, as you can see by the photograph I took of them.


Funding and emergency powers for cycle lanes

Having read your article, I note that for Wisbech. the county council consider that we only need more bike parking.

Is this to help bike thieves, so they don’t have to walk too far?

The councils are not even maintaining the current cycle lanes in Wisbech.

The prime example is the cycle lane down Lynn Road which is not visible, but there are other examples also.