Millom poet society's bid gets celebrity endorsement

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Spotlight: Charlie Lambert, right, with Songs of Praise host Pam Rhodes, left, producer Garry Boon, centre, and BBC crew members
Spotlight: Charlie Lambert, right, with Songs of Praise host Pam Rhodes, left, producer Garry Boon, centre, and BBC crew members
22 May 2017 6:44PM

A SCHEME to create a memorial to one of Cumbria's most popular poets has found itself a celebrity supporter.

The Norman Nicholson Society in Millom is bidding for Heritage Lottery Fund money to buy and transform the home of the great poet into a museum.

Their application has now found support from Kevin Whately, a star of TV series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and crime dramas Inspector Morse and Lewis.

In a message sent to the society, Mr Whately offered his support to the efforts of the group.

He said: "Do please add our names to the list of supporters for the Heritage Lottery Fund application. This is a splendid project and one which we are very happy to support."

Mr Whately was joined by his wife, Madelaine Newton, who co-signed the message of support.

The NNS is aiming to secure funding in order to turn Nicholson's house in St George's Terrace into a memorial worthy of the poet.

Born in bred in Millom, Nicholson lived in the house for the majority of his life, leaving only for his schooling and travel. He was born in 1914 and resided at the same address until his death in 1987.

Mr Whately, originally from Hexham, Northumberland, is most famed for his portrayal of Neville in the 1980s comedy Auf Wiedersehen, Pet but has more recently starred as Robert "Robbie" Lewis in ITV's Inspector Morse and Lewis.

He is a long-standing admirer of the Millom poet's work. Speaking to a national newspaper, he explained which poem was the closest to his heart. He said: "Scafell Pike by Norman Nicholson, it’s about the highest mountain in England, and how it will remain long after humans have been wiped out."

Mr Whately gave a reading of Scafell Pike at a concert of music and poetry at Champs Hill in Sussex in 2015.

Miss Newton has even closer ties to the area than her husband. In the 1980s she filmed TV series, The Spoils of War, in Millom.

Chairman of the Norman Nicholson Society, Charlie Lambert, said: "Having the backing of Kevin Whately and Madelaine Newton is absolutely fantastic. They have a real appreciation of Nicholson’s work and they understand how important it is that his home is preserved for future generations."

This is the second time in as many months the life Nicholson has drawn attention from further afield.

Last month a team from BBC's Songs of Praise came to the area to look at the poet's life, and how his strong faith influenced his writing.

The Norman Nicholson House Project can be contacted at normannicholsonhouse@gmail.com and further information is available

at www.normannicholson.org

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