Peace Garden inspires poetry

Crookham poet Jenny Martin
Crookham poet Jenny Martin

A book of poems inspired by remembrance of the Battle of Flodden has brought acclaim to the daughter-in-law of a late Crookham minister.

‘Aftermath’, the collection of poems by Jenny Martin,from Macclesfield, came about after a visit she and her husband made to Crookham’s Peace Garden two years ago.

Jenny said: “My late father-in-law, Rev Dr D J Martin, was the minister at Crookham church during WWII.

“My husband and I called in at the former manse on a visit to Northumberland in the autumn of 2012 when preparations were underway for the Flodden battle commemorations in 2013. We followed them with interest, especially the Peace and Reconciliation garden formed at the church which was the inspiration for my adaptation of John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.”

And it turns out that the spectre of war had touched Jenny’s family in interesting ways even before World War Two.

“My late father-in-law, “ she says, “got his first degree and PhD in physical chemistry, and he had written a textbook on thermodynamics.

“After Hitler came to power he was offered a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Heidelberg, a centre for atomic research.

“It was years later that we found out that he was one of a number of British scientists being head hunted. In the event, he turned it down for reasons he never spoke of, obtaining another degree in theology at Westminster College and going into the ministry.”

Jenny’s poetry has since been endorsed by that living symbol of British fortitude, Dame Vera Lynn,widely known as “the forces’ sweetheart”.

“I certainly derived some comfort from the Peace Garden and writing the book, especially having it endorsed so nicely by Dame Vera Lynn,” added Jenny.

“Thanks to the teamwork of Bollington Library Writing Group, the Macclesfield branch of the Royal British Legion, SliverWood Books, and of course Dame Vera and her staff.

All proceeds from the sales of Aftermath are going to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.