Body and Soul Poetry Anthology book launch

Introduction to the book launch.

Contributors and supporters, friends and members of the public met up in York Library at the book  launch to hear songs, the cart play about the history of health care in York and of course listen to the poems.

The winner Michelle Diaz and second prize winner Margaret Adkins, were able to attend and the third prize winner Simon Williams was with us in spirit on screen.  He had recorded his entry because he had been unable to attend due to prior a engagement. Deborah Harrington from Public Matters, awarded the prizes after a short introduction about her background and previous experience in NHS matters.

The cart play was followed by an unexpected sing along and an opportunity to have a ‘selfie’ taken with an NHS 70 frame.

A box of books.

If you would like a book or even more than one, please use the comments box below to express the intention.  I will then e-mail to let you know how much the postage will be, for the quantity you would like. The cover price for the book is £8.

In addition, in a few days the bookshop News From Nowhere in Liverpool (96 Bold Street, L1 4HY), will be stocking some copies.


Anthology of poems to mark 70 years of the NHS.

Poems by…. in approximately alphabetical order…

Margaret Adkins, Brian Archer, Trevor Alexander, Michael Brett, Sarah J Bryson, Carole Bromley, Patrick Barran,  Lizzie Ballagher, Julie Boitoult,  Anne Broadbent, Simon Currie, Tina Cole, Diana Cant, Deborah Cobbett, Jonathon Davidson, Sarah L Dixon, David Dodwell, Vicki Dodge, Liz Denial, Michelle Diaz,  Jill Eastland, Helen Fanshaw, Rebecca Gethin, Harry Gallagher, Raine Geoghegan, Tony Hargreaves, Mary Hubble, David Honeybell, Graham Jones, Linda Kurowski, John Ling, Allanah Milsom, Waseem Mira, Saiga Mina, Frank Newsum, Barbara Prater, Kauser Parveen, Terence Quinn, Marg Roberts, David Ramsden, Alun Robert, Christine Renshaw, Zan Simkin, Ella Frances Sanderson, Mohamed Saloo, Isbeal Tannahill,  Cathy Whittaker, Lily May Worsdall, Sarah Watkinson, Julia Webb, Jane Wilson, Simon Williams, Anne Weerakoon

The book launch is on 24th November 2018 at York Library at 2pm. Your invitations should arrive in the next few days if they have not already. If you would like to attend please let us know.





Preparing the book!

Like the National Health Service of yore we have tried to be inclusive in our approach to the poems submitted. However, a few people forgot to put the titles of their poems on the contact sheet. This means we have poems with no author.

If you wrote “I am so much more than the Menopause” please get in touch through the comments box.

Please look in your spam box to see if you have an e-mail with the Christabel Hopesmith ourNHS70 Poetry Competition in the subject line,  requesting a .doc version of your work.


The winners are announced!

Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon were impressed with the quality of the entries so thank you to everyone who took part.

The results are as follows. Apologies for the mis-transcribing of the titles.

NHS 70th Birthday Competition

Judged by Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon

1st My life reduced to a window;  Michelle Diaz

2nd You never forget your first patients; Margaret Adkins

3rd Granddad


Visiting Helen in the afternoon; Carole Bromley

Widow; John Ling

This Old Doc; Anthony (Tony) Hargreaves

End of a Nightshift on Nightingale Ward; Margaret Adkins


The work of the organisers goes on. The prize giving and book launch (plus the  actual production of the book ) is being organised as we write and since the poems were of such a good standard, we are applying to the Arts Council for funding, which has set us back a little bit because the time scale for acceptance or rejection is 6 weeks from when we make the application. And the hoops we have to jump through were not anticipated. Nevertheless, we want the book to be the best it can be.

Congratulations to everyone who entered and particularly to those above. We will publish the poems online and in the book and we may use extracts for promotional and advertising purposes but when the book launch has passed the copy-rite returns to the writers and we will have to seek permission to reuse them.

Waiting for the results…

We have got an estimate for the printing of the book, although the preparation is going to be more work than we anticipated.

Nevertheless we are undaunted.

The winners will be announced soon.

Brilliant Poems


Some wonderful poems have arrived for the competition and now, the PO Box is closed.

The timetable for entries has been compromised by the sudden and unexpected death of the person we were relying on who was experienced with regard to book production and publishing! This is a double tragedy and I have only just been able to face writing about it.

Nevertheless the show must go on and therefore we are making attempts to find alternative knowledge and expertise. It is however unlikely that the beginning of July for publication is still in the frame… however, miracles do happen.

Extension to competition deadline, now 28 March 18

The last date for receipt of poems to the competition is now 28 March 2018, yay!

Get the thinking cap on, there’s a bit more time to finish what you wanted to say…  or say something else. There is no limit to the number of poems you can submit, but please remember that if you send them in a very large envelope, the cost of the stamp is more than ordinary first class and needs to be a Large Letter stamp, whether first or second class post.

We don’t mind if you fold your work.

It’s true!…Writing helps you heal…research from New Zealand!

Researchers in New Zealand investigated whether expressive writing can help physical injuries heal. It has long been thought that such writing can improve mood and help with psychological trauma.

The researchers studied older adults, according to the article in Scientific American. 

They chose 49 healthy adults from 64 to 97 years old and asked them to write about  upsetting events or daily activities, for 20 minutes on 3 days in a row. Then after a lapse of two weeks to allow any negative feelings stirred up by writing about the upsets to pass, they gave each person a biopsy on the arm. They photographed the healing process over 21 days and discovered that by day 11, of the group doing the expressive writing 76% had fully healed as against 42% of the control group. It appears that a  paper in September 2013  in the British Journal of Health Psychology indeed found that writing about an emotional topic lowered participants’ cortisol levels.

In the New Zealand study, the writers who had more sleep in the run up to the biopsy also healed faster.

Although expressive writing did aid healing when done after the event of the physical wound, the most beneficial time was when the writing had been done earlier, according to a BBC R4 programme about it, in the summer of 2017.

Looking for inspiration?

‘One red leaf, the last of its clan, That dances as often as dance it can, Hanging so light and hanging so high, From the topmost twig that looks up to the sky’ Samuel Taylor-Coleridge from ‘Christabel’.


Describing something simple and first hand and yet managing to get a hint of a deeper meaning,  here’s Andrew Hirst’s poem.


Had done nothing since the stroke,

stiff in his baize armchair, olive oil and rooted as the days.

Emptied eyed, sallow voice, wasted, nothing.

He hated me, stood solid by the kitchen door

pink and fresh faced.

“If I just did a morning… now and again.

Things ‘ll soon get cleared up”

I didn’t step any further, not wanting to tread the

carpet in my wellingtons.

Almost lost, he said nothing. He’d not agreed,

never agree.

“If I just did a morning.  Now and again.”


She kept on calling me Steve. I said nothing.

As things were, she said to do it anyway,

he’d come up later to have a look.

He never came.


The shed was unlocked and I was to get what I needed,

full of treasures of a rusted craftsman age.

Catalogues of a summer past.

Christmas hyacinths,

long since coloured in perfumed pots

Tins of paint with skins thick as crocodiles.

Cut string, uniform for stakes,

strimmer, spade, shears, forks, pruners, rotorvator even-

“To touch another mans tools…” I thought:

Here, where he’d lived out his secret life,

cloched in the green light.


Outside the regiments of leeks rotted.

She saddened, it’s all he could manage in soups and stews

she’d make with seeping pride.

“O for the pleasure of growing” he’d of said.

The stacked pots, emptied and fuelless as northern chimneys

blocked the sun from the greenhouse.

She’d taken a few cuttings,

they’d not seen water in months.

Yet she’d worry if nothing got done…

She brought me a coffee and picked off a few of the Brussels.


I went between the chrysanthemum: Purple Prince,

Ogmore Vale, Mrs Ballystead.

The frost had had them all.

I said nothing.

The soil still cold as a grave

and me with his dignity and chrysanths.


Copyright remains with the author.


Patient stories here also:-

Competition details here:-




Poetry Competition

Poems need to be typed and single spaced.

To mark the 70 th anniversary in July 2018 of the introduction
of the National Health Service( 1948-2013), new work is
invited for the content of a memorial book. Poems need to
be about the ‘human condition.’ Health or lack of it helps
define a person. Next to your life, is your health. Coping
with ill health, disability, comic, sad, reflective, all types of
work required.

1 st prize £200
2 nd prize £100
3 rd prize £50
And a film made of the winning
entry tbc


Wendy Cope “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis”
Lachlan Mackinnon “ Small Hours ”

The book will include the winners and highly commended, and is to be launched as near to 5 th July 2018 as possible.
New poems must be submitted in English, from writers living in
England only.
Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland have different laws governing
their NHS so writers living in those regions are not eligible.
Poems can be in any form.

  • How to enter.
    Entries need to
    ● be about ‘The human condition’, plus medics, doctors, hospitals etc.
    ● be no more than 40 lines in the English language, single spaced.
    Entries need to be typed
    ● Closing date for receipt of entries
    17 March 2018: remember to leave time for the post to deliver!


  • Entrants need to be living in England,
  • Be 18 or over
  • Entries should be entirely the work of the entrant and must never
    have been published, self published, published on any website or
    online forum, broadcast, nor won or been placed in any other
  •    Entries should have a title, but no names, address, ‘phone or
    e-mail should be on the manuscript. These should be on a
    separate sheet.
    Name, postal address, e-mail address and title of poem/s MUST
    be on an sheet accompanying the poem/s. Entry is free.

By entering the competition you confirm you are over 18 and
agree to be contacted about crowdfund for publication and or
booklaunch if necessary.
The prizes have already been donated by a benefactor.


  • Poems need to be typed and single spaced.
  • Send entries, accompanying sheet with details and an SAE to:-
    Poetry Competition
    PO Box 345
    WF13 9EG
    Your details will never be shared
    or sold.
  • Poems which win and are highly commended (we are hoping for a lot!) will be published in the book, but after that, copyright will remain with their authors.
  • The organisers retain the right to extend the closing date or postpone the competition and will announce such a move on the website, if enough suitable work has not been entered by 17 March 2018.