Celebrated poet Paul Cookson tours Blackpool schools in the run up to Saturday's Unity Reading Festival

This Saturday (June 25), Unity Academy in Blackpool opens its doors to the public for its Unity Reading Festival, welcoming a range of writers and artists who will celebrate the written word by telling stories, reciting poems, and reading books.

By Aimee Seddon
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 24th June 2022, 8:19 am

One guest, celebrated poet Paul Cookson has been travelling around schools in the run up to the event to spread the word and encourage families to join in on the day, entertaining children with his performances and writing workshops.

Paul, who is originally from Preston but now lives in Nottinghamshire, is famed for his ukulele and poetry combinations, which aim to get children involved in writing and reciting their own performance poems.

He said: "It's only Wednesday and I have already worked with hundreds of children! It's been great to work with a range of year groups from primary to secondary; they have been great fun and interacted with all of the poems. I am looking forward to Saturday when we can continue to celebrate reading in Blackpool!"

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Poet Paul Cookson with Unity Academy students, Sofia Davenport, Alfie Carter-Cole, Hazeera Amin & Logan Miller today.

Estelle Bellamy, Director of English for FCAT added: "We are delighted to welcome Paul to Blackpool again following his successful visit to Montgomery Academy last year. Paul continues to wow us all on Twitter with his poem a day including one about ex-Montgomery student Jake Daniels. This is a clear message to our students that poetry is relevant and powerful!"

Other guests who have been working in Unity this week are Sarah Hagger Holt and 'That poetry Bloke'.

Saturday’s event will also welcome Dan Worsley, Curtis Jobling. Manga Artists, and Disney Princesses.

Children will be able to get involved in a range of workshops and activities including face painting, a book themed treasure hunt, and a bookmark designing competition with the chance of winning a kindle.

Paul has visited Montgomery Academy, Unity Academy, Aspire Academy, Westcliff Academy, Mereside Academy, Westminster Academy, Armfield Academy, Gateway Academy, and Hambleton Academy. Pictured above with year 5 Westcliff pupil Lauren Sim.

Stephen Cooke, Head Teacher said: "We are very excited to see the return of the Unity Academy Reading Festival after the last couple of years. The day promises to be even bigger and better than the festival in 2019 with more authors and activities for the family. Unity Academy is a community school and we see offering this event as a free event for families a really important part of our community work at a time when rising costs can prevent people being able to access these kinds of events.

Tickets are free but need to be booked on the Unity Academy website here.

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Paul with Armfield pupils, Riley O'Toole (13), Gabrielle English (13), Will Finlay (13)