NHS manager Heather Longbottom turned to verse in her spare time when Covid-19 turned our world upside-down and quickly earned a reputation as Derbyshire’s own Pam Ayres!
She became a favourite on BBC Radio Derby’s Breakfast Show – even writing new poems at the request of presenter Andy Twigge which she read on air.
Now, in the latest development in her rise to fame as a local poet, a selection of Heather’s lockdown poems has been collated into a booklet by her employers at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, and is being sold in aid of NHS charitable funds and Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield.
The publication, entitled Poems From A Pandemic, takes a funny and poignant look at some of the absurdities and challenges of life under lockdown and throughout the pandemic.
Heather, who is a mum of two and works as the deputy divisional director for Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I initially started writing poems during the pandemic as a way to help me reflect and switch off from all the stress and uncertainty that it was causing me to feel. I was really surprised with how well people responded to my musings on life during Covid and am delighted that we are able to raise some money for such great causes by selling the booklet.”
Heather was introduced early to poetry by her mum, Linda, and has turned to it as a hobby during her adult life. Her talent was only discovered by her work colleagues when she shared one of her lockdown-inspired poems on Twitter. From that point onwards she has been called upon to mark key moments in verse as a sort of Derbyshire NHS poet laureate.
The booklet is available for anyone to order and includes such gems as “Covid’s Made My Clothes Shrink”, “T’was The Night Before Lockdown” and “It Would Be Lovely To Go To The Pub”, amongst a total of 14 beautifully crafted rhyming poems.
To order Poems From A Pandemic, please follow this link and donate a minimum of £5 to either charity of your choice, listed within the link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VQ3GLN7
The chosen charities are DCHS Charitable Trust and Ashgate Hospice.