John Clare Festival at Helpston. Jo Snow, Carolyn French and Jan James from the Beauvale Ensemble EMN-190714-093205009

Life of Peterborough’s Peasant Poet celebrated at festival

The life and work of one of Peterborough’s most famous sons was celebrated at a colourful festival.

The annual John Clare Festival took place last weekend in Helpston, where the ‘peasant poet’ lived. John was born on July 13, 1793, and is now recognised as one of the greatest poets of his time. The festival started with the traditional midsummer cushion ceremony, where children laid flowers planted in trays, which are known as midsummer cushions, at his graveside. The children from the John Clare Primary School in Helpston also wrote poems themed around birds in the area. Ann Marshall, from the John Clare Society, said the poet was more relevant than ever, She said: “He was very mindful of the environment and not destroying things that are precious. I think he would be sitting and weeping now about what is happening.

John Clare Festival at Helpston. Peterborough Morris dancers EMN-190714-093154009

1. The John Clare Festival 2019

John Clare Festival at Helpston. Peterborough Morris dancers EMN-190714-093154009
Midlands
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John Clare Festival at Helpston.  Hurluberlu 17th century Dancers EMN-190714-093216009

2. The John Clare Festival 2019

John Clare Festival at Helpston. Hurluberlu 17th century Dancers EMN-190714-093216009
Midlands
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John Clare Festival at Helpston.  Peterborough Folk Dance Club members EMN-190714-093227009

3. The John Clare Festival 2019

John Clare Festival at Helpston. Peterborough Folk Dance Club members EMN-190714-093227009
Midlands
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John Clare Festival at Helpston.  Audience of one of the John Clare talks EMN-190714-093238009

4. The John Clare Festival 2019

John Clare Festival at Helpston. Audience of one of the John Clare talks EMN-190714-093238009
Midlands
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