Marvellous Morning at Malmesbury Abbey

What a morning!  As the sunlight poured 100 people into the radiant Abbey I felt the love and acceptance of those who had generously given up their morning to come and meet me.  Many had already read my book, and I was particularly touched by the person who asked the first question and said she now sees people with disabilities differently – this is one of the reasons I wrote the book, and the other is elicited in the nub of her question: Jesus is the most important part of my life, and he can be in yours too.

Particularly humbling, some had travelled a long way for the morning including David the CBBC My Life film producer from London and the two ladies from Wales who had spent two hours following erroneous routes on the Sat Nav!

Judging the poems which have come in following the poetry work shop has been a tricky morning’s activity, with some penning their first poem and others rediscovering a lost love.  Every one of them was a unique: an acrostic, a repeated refrain, even a limerick.  Sadly, there wasn’t space for them all, so I chose two for the children’s section, two for the adult section (one about the Abbey and one about the morning) and a wonderful review of the event from Harry, who like me is in secondary school and has cerebral palsy.

Winners of the children’s section:

I like your face, its cute.
I like your poem
And I love your heart
(by Edward aged 7)

I love this place,
and I love coming
to meet you
(by Evie age 5)

Winner of the adult section – a poem about the Abbey

Majesty, Enormity,
Symmetry, Uniformity,
Variety, Diversity,
Embracing life’s perversity.

Is the generosity of the Love of God here made manifest
Granting even my request to live the life that He has blessed?
(by Ann)

Winner of the adult section – a poem about the morning


Jonathan and William
Two authors, Two poets
From distant Eras
United by their teaching power

I’m hurrying, no surprise there!
Road closed, no way through
Coming to Abbey
To see, hear a beautiful intelligent mind.
A unique portal, published at 12
Not bound by his handicap
Not bound into his mind.
Oh such a beautiful, handsome young man to behold!

A hurried coffee and a yellow ripe banana
breakfast hurried
Hair wet and ready to go
Prayed for sunshine, it’s coming through
Daffodils clapping, oh Wordsworth
Would be happy
As we are to welcome this beautiful mind.
(By Michelle)

Harry’s review of the morning:

Meeting Jonathan and listening to his poems and his stories at Malmesbury was exciting because he really inspires me to do anything you want to do. When I got to the abbey, there was a beaming light shining through the colourful patterned stained glass windows coming from the sun and me and my mum then sat down. It was so exciting waiting for the show to start as I had been waiting for this trip for so long. Then it started…

From my seat, I could see Jonathan and his mum, Chantal. The show started with a lady at the front, saying thank you for coming. Then they showed us a video of Michael Morpurgo reading Jonathan’s book. At the end of the video, Michael asked some questions and cheeky Jonathan answered back with a cheeky answer!

Jonathan’s sister, Susannah, read a poem and then a friend of Jonathan’s, Andy acted out his story of Rumplestiltskin. The audience asked Jonathan some questions about his story and Andy showed us the way Jonathan plans his stories and poetry. Then the show ended and then Jonathan was going to sign our books! I went to the end of the line but it was taking a long time and so I talked to Andy for a bit. Finally I got to the front of the line, and I got a chance to talk to Jonathan and his mum. We talked about how Chantal told Jonathan about me being on the radio with Lost Voice Guy. Then he stamped my book and then I asked the all important question. “ Where do you get your ideas from?” Then he answered “ My mind”. Then we all chuckled, then we left. I left knowing that I had met one of my heroes!

Finally, the limerick made me laugh:

There is a young man called Jon,
Who uses big words with aplomb.
His unique writing board
And his love for his LORD,
Has led to the fan base he’s won!

JB and books

40 books all sold!

JB and David

Me and David

susannah reading

Susannah reading my words


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