Thornaby pupils join forces with poet to create a song about their home town

Thornaby pupils have joined forces with one of the country’s top comic poets to create a song about their home town.

John Hegley, a regular on BBC Radio and popular performer at the Edinburgh Festival, visited The Village Primary School as part of the Northern Children’s Book Festival.


(Coverage in The Northern Echo

Over the past fortnight the Festival, now in its 31st year, has seen some of the UK’s best-known authors, poets, performers and illustrators visit schools and libraries throughout Teesside and the North East. It culminates in a Gala Day at the Sunderland Winter Gardens tomorrow (Saturday).

John – taking part in the Festival for the first time in 15 years – told the pupils he had been inspired by his teachers to write poetry and had written his first poem when he was ten-years-old, the same age as some of them.

After leading a session involving more than 20 Year Six pupils – during which they wrote the Thornaby song – he said the Village Primary was well-chosen by the Festival organisers. “The children were very enthusiastic and the staff were as well. The children had some great ideas.”

Teacher Jade Miere said: “We’ve just been doing poetry and for somebody like John to come in and work with the pupils will inspire them. I was really pleased to see all of them getting involved, everybody putting their hand up, they really enjoyed it. They’ll be singing that song for weeks. I can’t get it out of my head even now.”

John said the Festival had grown in the 15 years he had been away. “You’ve set up a tradition now,” he said. “It would be great to create an archive to see what’s gone on in the past as well. It’s fantastic for the North East. It’s a lovely Festival and there’s nothing really like it.”

Dawn Williams of Bridge North East, which supports the Festival, praised the region’s library services which come together every year in a partnership to organise the event. She added: “We are delighted that yet again the world of story-telling has been brought alive by some of this country’s best writers.

“The Northern Children’s Book Festival is a fantastic event which, for well over a quarter of a century, has delighted thousands of children and young people throughout the North East. We have been proud to support the Festival once more.”

The Thornaby Song – composed by John Hegley/pupils of The Village Primary School:

I wanna be in Thornaby

The shops are top

I wanna be in Thornaby

The parks don’t stop

I wanna be in Thornaby

The VP School

I wanna be in Thornaby

The Thornaby pool

I wanna be in Thornaby

My home’s here

I wanna be in Thornaby

Mama Mia!





Notes to Editors

Bridge North East

Sage Gateshead is part of a national network of 10 Bridge Organisations, funded by Arts Council England, to use their experience and expertise to connect children and young people with art and culture. They connect schools and communities with Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations and others in the cultural sector – including museums and libraries – all across the North East region.