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Return to Rhyme

Redbridge-Rhymesters-CROPPEDA pre-COVID meeting of the Redbridge Rhymesters

Over-50s poetry group the Redbridge Rhymesters was formed more than 13 years ago. As they prepare for their first post-COVID meet-up, founder Alexandra Wilde is keen for new writers to join the poetic flow

It’s been over two years since the Redbridge Rhymesters last met for a creative poetry session, writing poems in all their forms – sonnets, blank verse, narrative poems and odd odes – and it has been a difficult time for those creative minds among us who love to share ideas and take inspiration from each other.

The Redbridge Rhymesters first got together over 13 years ago; it all began when Janet West, from Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering, found a poem I had written about my grandmother and that I had recorded for Age UK’s website. Janet got in touch with me and asked permission to reproduce it in the newsletter; of course, I was delighted to agree!

With interest in creative writing coming more and more to the fore, I was then asked if I would lead a poetry event at the Allan Burgess Centre in Wanstead. It went so well, it was decided to make it a regular event, and since then we have enjoyed quarterly meetings, writing and sharing ideas, and performing our work. People can also bring in a favourite poem to read on the day, or else I am always happy to perform it for them; everyone is encouraged to participate, although if they prefer, they can also just sit back and enjoy the session. After each meeting, we produce a pamphlet containing all the new poems written by the Redbridge Rhymesters and each participant is sent a copy; it makes a happy reminder of the day.

Such great oaks from little acorns grow, as they say, and the only thing that could interrupt our poetic flow was the arrival of the Covid-19 virus, but now, at long last, we can look forward to a new beginning; the Redbridge Rhymesters are ready for a renaissance. So many of our stalwart members are keen to return, and I would love to encourage new people to join us as well. The Allan Burgess Centre provides many other activities for people over 50, and everyone is assured of a warm welcome.

The next meeting has been arranged for Tuesday 18 January, and for this first session of the New Year, we will be joined by Robert Gillman, an accomplished singer-songwriter, and winner of last year’s Havering Libraries’ Poetry Competition; he will be talking about getting inspiration for creative writing, in all its guises.

We usually choose a topic for each meeting, but for this first get-together after such a long time, ‘free choice’ will be the order of the day!

I look forward so much to seeing you then, and hope it will signal a great start to more imaginative, creative poetry.


The Redbridge Rhymesters will meet at the Allan Burgess Centre on 18 January from 10.30 am to 12 noon. The Allan Burgess Centre is located at 2 Grove Park, Wanstead, E11 2DL. For more information, call 020 8989 6338