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Poem takes a look at town's past

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 04, 2013

PORT Talbot memories from times gone by have been transformed into a nostalgic poem.

Author Lynne Rees has collected stories and memories from hundreds of residents who posted in a Facebook group, which has gathered 3,977 members.

"Last year I started a thread on the Port Talbot Old & New Facebook group asking for memories of the town," said Ms Rees who was born on the Sandfields Estate, but now lives in Kent.

"The response was phenomenal and I said at the time I'd try and shape some of the material into a poem.

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"I might have collected the information, edited and shaped the words but the poem belongs to everyone who commented — nearly 100 of them."

The poem involves many fond memories for residents including Len's rissoles, the Jubilee Shopping Hall and Beach Hill.

"I have kept all of the names who have contributed," said Ms Rees.

"It is nice because everybody feels they are a part of it."

Ms Rees, who is a poet, writer, creative writing tutor and blogger, said she has many memories from growing up in the town.

"I was born in Sandfields in 1958 and I lived there until 1978," she said.

"When I think about the town I think about Port Talbot in 1971.

"I was only 13, but my most vivid memories are of the indoor market, you had the arcade and Woolworths, the Prince of Wales Hotel and the Odeon on Forge Road.

"It was that part of old Aberavon which I remember."

For the past year she has been putting together a book for the Real series by Seren Books.

The Real series began in 2004 and gives the town or city it focuses on the "real" treatment, telling people facts they possibly never knew.

"The Real books are about local history and issues, but there are a lot more things in there which you would not find in a standard guide book," said Ms Rees, who credits Michael Sheen's Passion play for providing her with the inspiration to create a book based on the town.

Ms Rees will be at Port Talbot on Saturday, February 23, for a workshop on Life Matters — Writing and Sharing the Stories from Our Lives.