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Creative writing – Blaenau Gwent REACH

Updated Wednesday, 7 July 2021

These poems, dialogues and recollections capture how some of the residents of Blaenau Gwent feel about the history of the area and their experiences of living there. They were written by participants in creative writing workshops run by the BG REACH project at Aberbeeg Community Centre in spring 2020.

A splodge of ochre orange paint.

Mar neu O'r Blaen (Then and Now)

By Barbara Candlish

Barbara’s short poem ‘Then and Now’, is inspired by the ‘Colours from the Mines’ project at Tŷ Ebbw, Six Bells.

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A tower of toilet paper.

Pandemic 2020, Coronavirus 19 reminiscent

By Barbara Candlish

In ‘Pandemic 2020’ Barbara takes an often hilarious approach to describing her experiences of COVID-19. Her descriptions of the restrictions imposed on the people of Blaenau Gwent are certainly things to consider for us all in terms of stepping up to the unexpected challenges of life.

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A silver coloured metal horseshoe.

Silver Girl

By Katharine Marquis

Katharine’s short prose work, ‘Silver Girl’, takes us to the heart of the Valley’s agricultural heritage. Written in the form of a conversation, we have a poignant snapshot of the plight of a lame farm horse, Silver Girl, and the orphan lad Jack who looks after her, too well.

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A typical wooden clothes peg.

The Welsh Miner’s Wife

By Katharine Marquis

A powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution, Wales was famous for its coal mining in the Rhondda Valley, south Wales Valleys and throughout the south Wales Coalfield. In this short lyric poem from Katharine, the opening line has a remarkably familiar ring!

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An illustration of two blue tits on a tree branch.

Bathed in Birdsong

By Susan Davies

This short lyric poem from Susan certainly lives up to its titular, alliterative metaphor which so beautifully captures some of the more positive side effects of COVID-19.

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A blue baby’s dummy.


By Lacey Smith

This charming sketch of bedtime in teenager Lacey’s house is a tremendous achievement, written off the cuff during one of the BG REACH workshops at Aberbeeg Community Centre.

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A pencil sketch by Stephen Davies depicting nineteenth-century terraced housing. Copyright: Stephen Davies

My Lovely Valley

By Stephen Davies

This is an affecting and affectionate ode to Cwmtillery, once its own village centred from the mid-nineteenth century on a sizable mining operation but now a northern suburb of Abertillery.

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A pencil sketch by Stephen Davies depicting Cwmtillery pithead.

Remembering Cwmtillery

By Stephen Davies

With accompanying sketches, these are Stephen’s recollections of visiting his grandmother during the 1960s in Cwmtillery, to the north of Abertillery. Back then Cwmtillery Colliery was a growing concern; having opened in the late 1840s it finally closed in 1982. Stephen’s father and his grandfather both worked there.

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A traditional British Rail train ticket with orange borders.

Back on Track

By Hedley McCarthy

This is a lovely account of Hedley’s train journeys told in its own direct line of connection between child and man.

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BG REACH exhibition logo / Logo arddangosfa BG REACH

This page is part of the Blaenau Gwent REACH online exhibition.

Film and audio | Creative writing | Visual art

Digital stories | The history of Blaenau Gwent | About this project


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