A FORMER mill worker’s memories of Darwen have won her £1,000 after she penned a poem about the town.

Mary Scott, 88, has written poems all her life but ‘Memory is the Camera of the Heart’ was the first time she had entered a competition.

The great-grandmother entered the work for publishing firm United Press’s Local Poem competition after her daughter, Trish, who works at Darwen Library, picked up a form.

Mrs Scott, of View Road was presented with her winnings at the library on Monday night. She also received a framed certificate and will have her poem published in a book and receive a free copy.

Mrs Scott, who has six grandchildren and one great-grandchild, said: “It was a complete shock when I was told I’d won. I have written little poems all my life but never entered a competition, so to win a contest with so many thousands of entries from all over the UK is the biggest surprise of my life.

“It started as poems for my family, just little rhymes, but I never thought one of my poems would be this successful.”

Mrs Scott said the poem was inspired by her upbringing and life in the town.

She said: “Darwen may be a valley town and considered to be a backwater but it has seen me through some difficult years of my life.

“Nothing can match the spirit and togetherness of a small town like this.”

Mrs Scott is a former president of Darwen Townswomen’s Guild, of which she has been a member for 25 years, and she has also written a prayer which is recited at the end of guild meetings.

Memory is the camera of the heart

I remember Darwen, my town below the hills, Cobbled streets and gas lamps, and a myriad of throbbing mills.

Early morning clattering clogs, hooters wailing don’t be late, Seconds counted, for all knew on the dot they closed the gate.

Weekends brought markets, downtown folk went hurrying, To ‘tuppenny rush’ at cinemas, the children went a-scurrying.

Cinemas five, were kept alive with first and second showing, Saturday nights were special, with most town people going.

I just cannot lay down my pen, no matter what the hour, Without a special mention of our beloved Darwen Tower.

Like a sentinel it stands, alone, upon the moor, And gazes down upon the town and its people, rich or poor.

When servicemen returned from war, and lands across the foam, At their first sight of Darwen Tower, they knew that they were home.

Yes, I remember fondly, those days that used to be, For, after all, they truly are a precious memory.