Reminiscences on the early days of the Wellington Arts Festival by Sue Crampton
In the late 90s I joined the committee of the festival. Having a background in teaching and, as I lived in Wellington, I hoped to make a positive contribution to our town, its schoolchildren and the festival.
In 1998, Peggy Harrison was the Mayor and she helped to promote our Storysacks Conference held at New College. (Storysacks was based on the idea of bringing alive a story with the help of a cloth bag containing handmade characters and props).
Without Peggy’s connections and her previous work within the community, I don’t think the event would have been so successful. She was so enthusiastic and encouraging that myself and fellow committee member Edna Morris helped organise further events. One such event was an evening of mime, puppetry, and verse about the Wrekin Giant, and the second was with the Mythstories Museum in Shrewsbury who created theatrical tableaux with the children.
In 2011 I published a book about the first female MP for The Wrekin, Edith Picton-Turbervill, entitled ‘A Head Above Others’ and was delighted to speak about Edith and her often overlooked work at the 2016 festival in the new library. Peggy Harrison helped with my research having spoken with residents who had memories of Edith working alongside the miners’ wives in the soup kitchens during the 1926 General Strike. Edith and Peggy – two great Wellington ladies whose legacies deserve to be remembered.