Talking zebras? The herd is growing!

Jim Saville and David Lindsay are setting up a poetry club competition at the Commercial Pub in Cleckheaton. (D522C331)
Jim Saville and David Lindsay are setting up a poetry club competition at the Commercial Pub in Cleckheaton. (D522C331)

Zebras are hardly known for their rhyming skills, but a new group in Spen is definitely earning its stripes.

Talking Zebras is a spoken word group based at The Commercial pub, Bradford Road, Cleckheaton, and since launching 12 months ago, membership has soared.

Members read or recite their favourite pieces of poetry, prose or monologue, with a varied mix of the likes of Shakespeare, Auden, Les Barker and Carol Ann Duffy as well as members’ own writings.

The group has also got involved at festivals and charity fundraisers. Their recent Lend Us Your Ears – an evening of verse raised £720 for Kirkwood Hospice, and an event at The Brighouse Arts Festival was in aid of the Bradford Cinderella Club.

And now the club is organising a children’s poetry competition, after it was suggested by 10-year-old Marni Quantrill Wales, a member of the group.

It is open to pupils at participating primary schools to write a new poem on the theme of animals, and will be judged by club members with prizes for the best two poems in the two age groups thanks to local sponsors, including Ponderosa in Heckmondwike. The club will also publish winning poems on their website and in event programmes.

Rebecca Martin, headteacher at Birkenshaw Primary, said: “This is a fantastic idea as it gives local primary schools the opportunity to work with the community and our pupils to write for a purpose.”

Winners will have also their work read out at the Talking Zebras first birthday party at the Moorlands pub, Cleckheaton, on November 23, tickets from co-host David Lindsay on 07900 695873. For more information on the group visit www.talkingzebras.co.uk.