Congratulations Maggie

A carer from Kirklees has had her creative writing published in a national anthology.

maggie-mccleanMaggie McLean from Thongsbridge,  Holmfirth submitted her poem ‘Desert Island Disks’ and short story ‘song for carers – a true story’ into a Creative writing competition which is run annually by CarersUK and sponsored by Specsavers Healthcall.  She recently found out that both of her works were being featured in their anthology.

Maggie is one of many people who gives up their time to take care of a loved one who has additional needs,  and the council have been working with her to make sure that she gets all the help that is available to her.

Her writing talks about her experience of being a carer for her husband Shaun.

Maggie said:

“I guess that many of us have had a go at choosing our eight records just in case we are invited onto Desert Island Discs! The creative writing competition run by CarersUK was a great opportunity to have fun and mix my caring role with my choice of discs. Being at home most of the time does, at least, give me time and space to scribble the odd story, poem – or even play. I hope that people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.”

Debbie Reigate, Care Navigator for Kirklees Council said:

“I was delighted to hear that Maggie had won the poetry competition,  she has a very positive outlook on being a carer which shows in her poetry.  However, we know that being a carer isn’t easy and there is no shame in asking for support,  and that’s where we come in.  By spending time talking to a carer we can assess what support they need and identify the best way to provide this.  We work with a number of local organisations who deliver, among other things, support services such as respite, advice and information, and events and activities where people can meet other carers.”

Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for adults said:

“Carers do an amazing job, often giving up many of the things we take for granted to be there for someone else.   Their contribution to caring for people with health and social care issues means that many more people can stay in their own homes and maintain some level of independence.  I would encourage anyone who is caring for a friend or family member to contact Gateway to Care in the first instance on 01484 414933, to find out what support is on offer.”

Other support for carers

Carers support can also be found from:

CarersUK – their online forum and publications are a great resource for carers – /

Carers Count – information and support for carers – 0300 012 0231/

Making Space – supports carers of people with dementia – 01484 483083/01484 483084 /

St Annes Community Services – supports people who care for someone with mental health issues – 01924 468344/

Carers can find information on free courses for carers at:

Children and young carers under the age of 18 can contact the Young Carers Service on 01484 426 100/barnardos young carers

Maggie’s poem:

Desert Island Discs 2017

I’ve got my list of records when Kirsty makes her call

The ones that have sustained me and thread throughout it all.


I’ll start with Gloria Gaynor; you know – ‘I Will Survive’

The lyrics aren’t important, but it makes me feel alive!


‘So, tell me, then what happened?’ (She’s bound to ask me that)

When you became a carer for your husband – and the cat!


‘The world became much smaller, for I used to travel far

In jackets and high heels, when out driving in my car’


I’d play that Bryan Ferry song: ’The In Crowd’. When he sings,

I felt that I was part of it, such memories it brings!


I’ve swapped designer outfits for a pair of denim jeans

And no longer need to practise getting out of limousines.


The wheelchair goes in the boot, and sometimes we have fun,

And whizz around John Lewis’s, almost at a run!


I’ve bought a giant hula-hoop, and spin to ‘Dancing Queen’

That is record number three, I do it in between.


Caring is the little things, it’s not on centre stage

The long, slow days of living with the steady march of age.


And breakfast, lunch and supper, all taken up to bed

While trying to anticipate, with little being said.


I think perhaps the Beatles will be at number four

The sound of ‘Blackbird’ singing just makes my spirits soar.


I’m glad I play the piano – he likes my Chopin best,

So Brendel playing Nocturnes will help me be unstressed.


Each day, alone, I walk through fields and listen to the birds

At six, for me, the ‘Pastoral’ evokes them without words


At seven is Bach’s greatest work – it’s his B minor Mass

If I conduct and sing there’s no-one there to call it crass.


‘And would you say you miss it – the life that used to be?’

‘Oh no. Oh yes, just sometimes – for now, I guess, I’m free’


The outside world keeps swirling – in here, it’s very still

So there is time to be and read and think on what you will.


This life, I wouldn’t swap now- I’ve learnt so much you see

The peace that comes from caring is, at its heart, the key.


My final disc is one of love – the great, ‘God Only Knows’

What would I be without you? This record maybe shows.


My luxury’s a notebook with lots of coloured pens

So I can write this story and tell you how it ends.


The extra book will have to be one of poetic treasure

My thanks – and may I say that this has been a real pleasure!



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