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#madeinmansfield – Reasons to be Cheerful… One… Two… and Three

Posted onPosted on 21st Dec

By Alan Dawson, the man behind the #madeinmansfield poetry initiative being featured in the News Journal. 


Ian Drury wrote his shopping list song, Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3, in 1979, a time when the UK was facing difficult times: inflation was high, and unemployment was rampant.

Further to this, the economy was fragile, and citizens struggled to remain positive through the Winter Of Discontent. Nevertheless, despite this difficult period, by the mid-1980s, the country was beginning to recover and by the end of the decade the country was booming.

Yes, yes
Dear, dear
Perhaps next year…

Reason to be Cheerful, Part 3


It is easy to draw parallels with the difficulties the country was facing in the 1980s to the difficulties we are experiencing now, 40 years later. So, what are the reasons to be cheerful?


Reason to be Cheerful… One

I think it is important that communities are listened to and their voice is heard…
Nicola Sturgeon

The ‘Mansfield Enigma’, MP Ben Bradley. Ben is a new kind of politician and if anyone in London was unsure where Mansfield was before he entered Parliament, they certainly know where it is now. Without a doubt he is a controversial character, and he is not afraid to challenge popular opinion. He is optimistic that with the right investment, the town can move forward in the next three years under the Tories. One thing is for sure, with Ben Bradley at the helm it is going to be a roller-coaster ride, but what is life without some risk?

Councillor Sonia Ward, who was the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Mansfield in the last General Election, is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and implement direct action in the community – her ward is Bull Farm and Pleasley Hill. During the pandemic, Sonia, with a group of community-minded residents, set up a Mutual Aid Group on Facebook – they have provided accurate information concerned with Covid and have recruited volunteers to support the vulnerable. Sonia is less verbal than Ben – who isn’t? – but she leads by example and would make a formidable MP for the town if she is ever called upon.


Reason to be Cheerful… Two

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job.
Brian Clough

Even Old big ‘ead, Brian Clough, would have had to exercise patience to witness Mansfield Town move up the Football League, if he had ever managed them. Under the Radford Revolution, the Stags have not been any higher than League Two after languishing in the Conference for five years before Matt Green’s 25 goals saw them Conference champions in the 2012-2013 season.

Newly-appointed manager, Nigel Clough, who guided Burton Albion into the Championship, has had great expectation thrust upon him as Mansfield supporters are ravenous for promotion – to be fair in his short tenure he has taken the Yellows into the third round of the FA Cup. Under Nigel the team has improved, and they recently put together a good run of form; although the former England International, Clough, lambasted the players for the dreadful first-half display in the 1-1 draw against bottom club Southend. So, watch this space…. COYS


Reasons to be Cheerful… Three

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso

#madeinmansfield, a local poetry initiative supported by The Mansfield and Ashfield Journal, is making good strides as the residents of Mansfield and Ashfield express their memories of the town through poetry.

The initiative has been endorsed by professional writers, such as playwright/ poet Kev Fegan, who has written to commission upward of 50 plays.  Local poet, Mary Langton, of Mansfield, had never written a poem since she left school, apart from verses on birthday cards, has been prolific in her writing and was one of the first poems featured on the News Journal website.

#madeinmansfield is going into furlough for the Christmas period (and I am starting work on a possible theatre commission myself) but will be back in the new year with more inspirational poetry – I have just received a fantastic poem written by Ellie, May, Ellie, and Faith, four young teenagers from Clipstone, which will be the first poem to feature in the new year.

I am planning the second stage of the initiative, which I will reveal in the new year. I am actively seeking funding (anyone out there want to lend me their expertise) to take #madeinmansfield to the next level, which will be videoed performance. Going along with Nicola Sturgeon’s quotation: I think it is important that communities are listened to and their voice is heard… for me there is no better way to be heard than through the arts.


I would like to thank the Editor of The Mansfield and Ashfield Journal, Tim Morriss, for his support – without Tim #madeinmansfield would have struggled to get off the ground.

Send poetry to the [email protected] if you would like to be part of #madeinmansfield – the theme is positive memories.

Have a Merry Christmas and keep the flame burning in Mansfield.