Euston Station welcomed some of our students and Arthur Smith, comedian and Grumpy Old Man star earlier today, as part of a new campaign to encourage the public to visit the Lake District, or as it used to be known, ‘Wordsworth Country’.
Commuters and holiday-makers were treated to an impromptu performance of William Wordsworth’s famous poem ‘Daffodils’. More than a hundred of our students from the Stagecoach Talent Agency UK aged 10-16 years and their parents, from all over the country, joined Smith to recite the words of Wordsworth’s legendary poem, which is one of the most oft-quoted verses in the world and is synonymous with the Lake District.
The event was organised by the Wordsworth Trust with an aim to get ‘Wordsworth Country’ back in the popular imagination, and raise awareness of the region with its natural beauty that helped inspire the writer. Wordsworth famously described the region as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”.
August 3rd is the 125th anniversary of Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home, being opened to the public and the run-up to Wordsworth’s 250th birthday in 2020. The Lake District National Park Authority has also launched a bid for the area to be granted World Heritage Status in 2017, meaning it would be ranked among other sites of natural and man-made beauty around the world, such as the Taj Mahal, Hadrian's Wall and the Great Barrier Reef. The drive to encourage tourism to Wordsworth Country will provide much needed support for the regional economy in the wake of Storm Desmond and the floods that ravaged the region at the end of 2015.
As part of the campaign, in partnership with Virgin Trains, Euston Station – the gateway to the Lake District from the capital – was transformed into an homage to the Victorian poet, with a giant 3m daffodil garden for travellers to enjoy and a signpost highlighting the way to ‘Wordsworth Country’. Commuters were invited to take a ‘seat and a selfie’ amongst the blooms synonymous with the Romantic poet.
Paul Kleian from The Wordsworth Trust says, “Celebrating the words of the poet and the places he immortalised is particularly pertinent as we approach his 250th birthday. Our new app will allow people to follow in the footsteps of Victorian tourists, using original guide books, maps, poems and paintings to guide them to places that inspired the poet. When people think of the Lake District they, no doubt, picture green hillsides, beautiful tranquil lakes, quaint villages, daffodils and wandering clouds – we want to make sure they also remember the poet made the Lake District famous all around the world.”
Tarquin Shaw-Young, from Stagecoach Talent Agency UK part of Stagecoach Performing Arts Schools, said: "We were so impressed with our students today who were so enthusiastic to perform on a different type of stage such as Euston station. The students showed off their skills whilst having a high level of professionalism. Stagecoach are so pleased to be here supporting the 'Love Wordsworth Country' campaign as we have a lot of students from all over the country, so it is a fantastic to celebrate the beautiful areas in the UK and to promote such a wonderful place. It's a wonderful cause close to a lot hearts from students and parents alike".
Virgin Trains are giving their backing to the campaign. Michelle Ragozzino, Virgin Trains Station Manager at Oxenholme, said: “We’re proud to serve the Lake District and are excited to be backing the campaign to put Wordsworth Country on the map. We’re keen to continue to show our support for the region and help bring visitors to Wordsworth Country by celebrating its beauty and highlighting all it has to offer. With Oxenholme – the gateway to the Lake District – only being less than a three hour train journey from London, we hope that many people will get on board to Love Wordsworth Country this summer.”
The ‘Love Wordsworth Country’ campaign is being supported by a host of Lake District businesses and organisations including Cumbria Tourism, Lake District National Park and Lakes Culture.