This week, Bea Hutchings remembers Devon poet and Bard of Exeter, Melanie Crump, who passed away earlier this year. And there is news of a tribute event coming up this week.
“Melanie Crump was a poet and writer from Paignton, who regularly performed her unique, spellbinding poetry at local venues and further afield. In 2019 she became Bard of Exeter after entering the competition and wowing the audiences with her craft. It was something she had aspired to for a long time, and one which, regrettably she could not continue due to the illness which took her life in October 2019. She was a writer of nostalgic magazine features; passionate about history and the roles of women; and it was on this theme she established what she had hoped to become a yearly event of Women’s Day Poetry at her inspired poetry venture, Orate Oracle in Paignton. Melanie had helped create a support group for women recovering from trauma and used her poetry to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Although she had a great sense of humour, she often apologised her poetry wasn’t funny. It was heartfelt and brilliant.
I remember the day when Melanie proudly showed us her book, Struggle and Suffrage in Torbay. It was passed around the small, informal group from the ‘Riviera Writing Group’ she’d set up, which held meetings in her Alms cottage on the Cockington estate. She hadn’t lived there long, but she loved it, surrounded by fields, flowers, fauna, in peace and quiet, at one with nature. It was she said, ‘her forever home’.
On the 12th December, poetry friends, friends, family and members of the public, are invited to the Blue Walnut Café, Walnut Road, Chelston, Torquay, for an evening dedicated to Melanie and her poetry, The Bard of our Hearts, A Big Poetry Special, where some of Melanie’s poems will be read, and also poetry written by her poetry friends; poems which may be light-hearted, funny, reflective, all of which Melanie enjoyed.
Her last days were spent at Rowcroft Hospice in Torquay, surrounded by her family and close friends. Melanie’s son, Elliott, has given his blessing for a collection on the night in aid of Rowcroft Hospice.
The Bard of Our Hearts, A Big Poetry Special on Thursday 12th December, starts at 8pm. Doors open at 7.30pm.
Struggle and Suffrage in Torbay by Melanie Crump can be found by clicking here.”