Colchester: Writer calls for help to preserve the countryside

Sir Andrew Motion

Sir Andrew Motion - Credit: Archant

Former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion is to return to Essex to talk about the landscape he loves.

Sir Andrew, who is president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), will be speaking about his upbringing in the county’s precious countryside and the importance of preserving rural landscapes.

He said: “It’s absolutely vital we engage a new generation.

“This is partly so that we can look ahead and feel the defence of the countryside is in good hands, and partly so we can encourage as many people as possible to enjoy and understand our beautiful landscapes.”

Sir Andrew, who succeeded popular travel author and campaigner Bill Bryson as CPRE president in 2012, will be visiting Colchester on November 28 for the event at the town’s arts venue Firstsite.

His talk will be titled From Stisted to Lavington Street: How I came to the CPRE, and Why.

Although born in London, he moved with his family to Stisted when he was 12 years old and has a deep affection for Essex, where as a child he enjoyed long walks with his pet dog.

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Sir Andrew said: “We love the English landscape. We cherish it – and the creatures that live in it – because as we walk through it, or marvel at its beauty, or work on and with it, we feel we are connecting with a fundamental and essential part of ourselves.

“It is the place where we might be able to honour our ancestors, and where we also plant the hopes for our future – as individuals, as families, as a species.

“But while we do this, we should not forget how much of the beauty we enjoy, and which feels eternal, has in fact been made by people.

“I don’t say that to compromise what I have just mentioned about origins and essences. But to say we can take pride in the countryside, as well as finding comfort and consolation and delight in it.”

Sir Andrew was poet laureate from 1999 to 2009 and during this time founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work. He is also a novelist and biographer. His talk will give an insight into his childhood, but he will also be encouraging those who care about protecting rural England to take action.

The talk is open to the public as well as to members of the CPRE.

The evening will start with drinks and canapés at 6.30pm, with the talk beginning at 7.30pm, and will be followed by an opportunity for questions. Tickets cost £15 per person and for more details people can email the Essex branch of CPRE – office@cpressex.org.uk.

The CPRE, which was founded in 1926, fights for a better future for the English countryside.

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