Darwen poet wins yet another award

Jim Atherton celebrates another trophy win. But he fears for the future of dialect speaking if more people don’t go out and use it.

Jim Atherton celebrates another trophy win. But he fears for the future of dialect speaking if more people don’t go out and use it.

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A DARWEN pensioner has scooped an award for his Lancashire dialect poetry.

Jim Atherton, 88, was awarded his prize by the Edwin Waugh Dialect Society, which is based in Rochdale and named after the Lancashire poet.

Jim was presented with the society’s Richard Holland Cup on Tuesday night, for his poem ‘The Quandry’, which is about a man who has to give up his dog after going blind.

The society awards several trophies each year to members who have written outstanding poetry or prose in Lancashire dialect, or written about life in Lancashire in standard English.

The Richard Holland Cup is presented once per year to the writer of the best poem written in dialect.

Jim lives in Waterfield Avenue, Darwen, with his wife Edna, 85, to whom he has been married for 64 years. He has been writing poetry for more than 30 years and has penned more than 700 poems, the majority of which are in dialect, and has been awarded the Holland Cup several times in the past.

Jim said: “I’m 88 and still winning! I’m a dialect man, I can’t help it, it can happen to anyone.

“I speak mostly in the dialect when I’m speaking to elderly people.

“It’s going out fast and unless there are people like me prepared to go out and speak it and write it and promote it, it will almost inevitably die. Dialect has been part of our way of life for generations. The way we speak is part of our heritage.”

Jim has performed his Lancashire poetry all over the North West, including at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, and was even hired for the opening of Sainsbury’s in Darwen.

He said: “I turn up in my clogs and my flat cap and waistcoat and gold watch chain, and they’ve never seen anything like it!”

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