Sheringham Deacon’s outreach is “A Loada Squit”
Deacon Brenda Hayes from St Andrews Methodist Church in Sheringham has compiled a book of poems called 'A loada ol' Squit' which is being sold in aid of Action for Children. Tony Rothe reports.
Brenda grew up in Sheringham, but cannot claim to be a true Shannock (native of Sheringham) as she was born next door to the Co-Op in nearby Melton Constable, moving to Sheringham when just a few months old! She attended school in Sheringham and North Walsham, and then left Norfolk in her early twenties to follow her calling and train as a Wesley Deaconess, her ministry taking her to Plymouth, Brixton (South London), Norwich, Immingham and Loddon before retiring to Sheringham fourteen years ago.
Brenda says, “Although to a certain extent over the years, I had to learn ‘how to talk proper,’ I have always lapsed into dialect easily and naturally. I have often been able to use dialect as a means of communication throughout my ministry.
For instance, I was once a part time chaplain at a hospital for the elderly and, being told by the staff of an old lady admitted to hospital for the first time from a Norfolk village where she had lived all her life and thus was frightened and uncommunicative, I approached her bedside and simply asked 'Wos the matta moy woman?'. This brought an immediate response, likewise in dialect, enabling her to find a way to articulate her very real fears. In a sense this was 'Mission ln the Norfolk dialect!'
The idea for the book came about back in March when the country, including Brenda, was plunged into lockdown. Brenda says “This a challenging, almost surreal, experience. Us ‘oldies’ were discouraged from going out, even to the shops. How was I to occupy my time? Especially as I have always been pretty useless at handicrafts and, much as I enjoy reading, there has to be a limit as to the number of books I would get through!
“I suddenly lit on the idea of writing Norfolk Squit in verse form, and started posting the poems on Facebook. I was amazed at the response and was encouraged by comments from many, that this dose of daily squit had made their day, cheered them up, and made them laugh as they battled against a sense of isolation. People were reading them not only from across Norfolk , but I had comments from all over the country and even from Norfolk ‘exiles’ as far afield as Holland, Texas and Australia!
“Several people have urged me to have them printed - hence this book. For me, Christian faith and my love of all things Norfolk go hand in hand, and are woven into the very fabric of who I am. I have always sensed that Jesus himself would celebrate the ‘earthiness’ of Norfolk and delight in its squit and its people. The characters I have introduced are so special and so ‘real’ that I hope you will enjoy meeting them.”
Brenda has already sold 200 of her books, and more are being printed. Some have gone to listeners on UCB radio from across the country and other Norfolk exiles.
'A loada ol' Squit' is available from:
Deacon Brenda Hayes, 22, St. Joseph's Road, Sheringham, NR26 8JA.
Or e-mail Brenda at : firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and address.
The cost is £3 plus £1 postage. The profits from the sale of the books will go to the work of Action for Children, a Methodist based charity which works among vulnerable children and their families.
Here is an excerpt of one of Brenda’s poems:
Lord, thas a rum ol’ dew -
Hare we are tergether agin, yit sittin’ two metres apart.
Remoind us that you are close an’ kin join us trew yar Spirit.
Lord we’re longin tew be earble tew praise yew boi singin’ fit ter bust, but that jist int allowed right now.
Play your moosic deep within us we pray.
Lord we hearte hevin tew wear these hare masks - We can’t fare t’see each others fearces.
Teach us how tew smile with our souls and our oys.
Lord, we art allowed t’ hug or even shearke each others’ hands - We don’t harf miss all this hare,
Yit yew are allus the searme yew are suffin close, An’ you still let us put our hand in yars.
Brenda, right, says “I have had amazing contacts by correspondence with folk I have never met, many without a church background.... I have felt humbled yet gob-smacked!”
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