A FORMER BBC children’s tv star who wrote a poem each week of 2020 has given a recital of his verses to raise money for a leukaemia charity.
Alan Heap, who starred in tv show Dizzy Heights and also founded Leamington-based business Purple Monster, livestreamed himself reading all 52 poems from his book ‘Hindsight is 2020: 52 poems that journal the year no-one predicted’.
All proceeds from the book’s sale and the web event are going to research charity Don’t Look Down, which was founded by Louise Dillon from Rugby in memory of her son Fred Bennett, who died a year ago from lymphoblastic leukaemia at age 14.
Alan says he began writing the poems as a marketing ploy with him also recording and posting the videos online weekly. But it became clear they became a source of fun, inspiration and comfort to colleagues and friends.
He said: “I was inspired to write and record my poems after seeing a one-man play by Sir Ian McKellen. I thought it would be an interesting way to market our creative business. I based my poems to begin with on subjects I was talking to audiences about on my travels.
“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, I found the theme and tone of my poems changed radically.
“Then when the first lockdown happened, it was clear my poems were going to be more meaningful and impactful than I had thought at the start of the year.”
Alan’s poems reflected key moments in 2020, such as the murder of George Floyd, the US Presidential elections and brighter moments like pubs reopening and Captain Tom’s fundraising.
As Alan’s poems became more popular, he was encouraged to compile them into a book.
He said: “I thought the book would be a great opportunity to raise money for charity.
“I met Louise online after she attended one of my TEDx talks, and I knew she had worked so hard to set up Don’t Look Down in the wake of her son’s death, so I thought it would be a deserving and appropriate charity to raise money for.
“Fred was a vivacious, happy-go-lucky boy, and Louise’s charity is doing great work in helping to stop other families having to say goodbye to loved ones far too soon.”
Visit dontlookdown.blog to find out more about the charity, and search the book’s name on Amazon to buy a copy.