Article supplied by Author Robin John Morgan.
Yesterday, Myself and the VCP team were invited to set up a stand at the Christmas Market at Brinnington, Stockport, Cheshire.
As with all the events that concern this small independent publishing company, it was a family affair, so with our children along bearing “Little Intern” badges, we all mucked in and by the opening time of 11am, we had our book sales stand, and our Jaded Opals stand built and laid out, not really sure as to what the events of the day would bring.
As part of the event, I had been invited to host a writer’s workshop, for any aspiring writers to come along and ask questions and get some positive feedback for their work. The event was scheduled to be held in the small library that adjoined the market square where the main stalls and activities of the day were being conducted. Part of the request that was made to myself by the Brinnington Events Team during our initial discussions over the writers workshop, was could I help advise some people on poetry also? Luckily for us we have a poet in our published author’s list, and so I invited Ted (Also my Father) to join me, which was actually pretty special as we have never really worked together in this kind of situation, so all in all I was looking forward to an interesting day.
Most importantly, the weather was very kind to us, yes it was a cold day, but it was dry, and in truth we have done outdoor events in colder, so for us with a little dancing behind the stall and a few hearty coffee’s, we began our day in high spirits, surrounded by the various stalls that provided food, gifts, raffles and face painting etc… it was not long before the square filled up with families, and the event swung into high gear to celebrate the communities Christmas, and I have say everyone was delightfully polite and treated us with a very warm welcome.
I think the thing that struck me as I stood there behind the book stand, was what a wonderful community spirit everyone had, I think great credit should be given to the Brinnington Events Team, for what was a massive amount of effort on their part, in bringing together all the residents of the area. I have written often in the past of the way parts of our heritage has disappeared over the years and especially in the area of how our communities have become less important and isolated, so it was wonderful to see that there is indeed a small pocket where community still has a great relevance and importance.
The whole area was filled with laughter, and people talking and dancing whilst the children ran round enjoying themselves, it felt like a pleasure to see it. The community really got behind the event and gave it their all, and a lot of money was raised to ensure that more events like this one will continue in the future.
When it came to my time in the workshop, my father and myself headed in doors to the library and set up our tables, not really certain of the kind of response we would get, yet within minutes we had our first visitor with questions about poetry and also writing children’s stories. The young woman in question asked us both quite a lot, and we gave her some great advice and the option of talking to us whenever she needed to. She left feeling happy and showing a little relief that there was help at hand should she require it.
I have to confess when I was asked about this workshop, I was asked what age group I could cater to? My response was at the time, any writer of any age, but I still was surprised at the amount of children who came during our session to get a better insight into the writing process. The children were really enthusiastic and talked happily about the stories they write, one young ten year old girl in particular, who spoke with great passion and love of reading really caught both my father’s and my own attention. We hear so much today about how children have stopped reading, we have witnessed so many library closures across the country due to so called cuts, and yet here was a group of children all talking about the books they read, in a very beautifully laid out and well organised friendly atmosphere of their own library, I must admit as a writer and a publisher, I was delighted to see that my opposition to library closures over the past few years was indeed very well founded.
These children talked of how they came there once and sometimes multiple times a week, I have to say it was joy to my ears, as it reminded me very much of my youth where I almost camped in the library as a child. It gave me such a boost, not just as an avid supporter of the need for more libraries, but also as a simple writer myself. This community has a thriving spirit, and at its heart is great library offering so much to children, which is clearly demonstrated by the children who came to see us.
Once the session was over, and we returned to the stand I found several adults approached me with questions, and later during the day the Mayor of Stockport came round to support the event, and he stopped and chatted to both myself and my father for some time. I noticed his aide looked at little a frustrated as we talked, but as I mentioned my experiences in his local library that day, I found I was greeted with equal enthusiasm by him, as he too shares the very same views. It was wonderful to actually talk to a representative of the council and get my message across to understanding ears, and also have him speak with such passion about the importance of parents reading to their children and encouraging them to read more.
It was getting dark as we started to shiver, the Christmas tree was lit to great applause, and we begin the long packing up after what had been a fun day in a great atmosphere. We came home cold and tired, well the grownups did, my children were still very much elated as they gathered their balloons, sweets and prizes they had won after a very exciting day for them, and VCP managed to make a profit and had successfully promoted their name and books to yet more people, so I consider it was a good day all around.
The Christmas Market was a wonderful family fun day out, even if we were working at the same time, and it is a credit to this small often unnoticed little community on the edge of Stockport. Well done to all of the organisers for doing something so many small communities fail to notice, simply put, you show everyone the importance of bringing all the community regardless of their status or creed together, and that really is a wonderful accomplishment. We had a fantastic day, and are thankful for your invite and hospitality, and I for one am looking forward to a return at some future point.