To mark the start of a year-long celebration, Wakefield Council introduces ‘Our Year – Wakefield District 2024’, a 366-day programme of festivities designed to showcase the vibrant spirit of the district. To mark the occasion, the council enlisted the talents of Royal Navy petty officer and Wakefield-born poet Ben Taylor, who, under his pen name Yorkshire Prose, penned an exclusive poem that beautifully encapsulates the unique character of the Wakefield district.
Our Year – Wakefield 2024 began with a live performance by Taylor at Wakefield Cathedral, marking the first presentation of the piece. This performance was a highlight of the 24 in 24 event, a dynamic initiative that featured 24 distinct events across the district, offering a preview of the diverse experiences planned for the entire Our Year programme.
Putting Wakefield on the map
Councillor Michelle Collins, the cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport at Wakefield Council, expressed her anticipation for the year ahead, saying, “This year is Wakefield’s time to shine, and we want people to be dazzled by the breathtaking spectacles and unique activities we have in store”.
The launch event, featuring curated tours of the National Coal Mining Museum and creative activities such as plant pot painting at Pontefract Castle, aims to unite communities and kick off Our Year with a burst of energy. Taylor’s headline performance at Wakefield Cathedral set the stage for the exciting year to come and Wakefield Council hopes that his evocative words will inspire people to celebrate the district, explore local wonders, and entice visitors from afar to discover what the Wakefield district has to offer.
The poem, a proud celebration of the Wakefield district’s unique attributes, received an overwhelmingly positive reception during its live cathedral performance, echoing the sentiments of those who call the district home.
The recorded performance of Taylor’s poem, set against the iconic backdrop of Wakefield’s Hepworth Gallery and the picturesque scenery of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, among other local landmarks, has garnered widespread acclaim on various social media channels.
The voice of the region
Aligning with the ethos of Our Year, Taylor, in his Yorkshire Prose persona, has contributed his distinctive dialect verse to several projects close to his heart. Notable among them are a Remembrance Day poem for the British Legion and a collaboration with Yorkshire Brewery, T&R Theakston, delving into the emotional connection to a pint.
Reflecting on the collaboration with Our Year, Taylor explained:
“As a Wakefield lad myself, I had so much to draw from for this piece. We invited the community to share their favourite aspects of the district, creating something that’s not just for Wakefield people but by Wakefield people.
“We wanted to convey that it’s not just art, heritage, and famous landmarks that make Wakefield great. It’s the people and their local pride that infuse the heart into Wakefield, and I hope this rings true when people hear the poem.”
With a comprehensive calendar boasting 366 activities throughout 2024, there truly is something for everyone during Our Year, and members of the council look forward to creating enduring memories and fostering a cultural legacy that will resonate throughout the district. For those eager to explore the full variety of Our Year’s offerings, more details can be found at ouryear2024.co.uk.
Article based on press release.