A Carlisle-based author is auctioning a poem signed by a celebrity, penned in memory of a close cousin who died from cancer.
Michael (Mike) Calum Jacques, who lives near Dixon’s Chimney, hopes to raise a four-figure sum by selling his poem “Summer, 1967” on eBay to try and raise vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The poem is signed by legendary DJ Tony Blackburn, who helped launch Radio 1 in 1967 and played the first-ever song on-air ‘Flowers in the Rain’ by The Move – whose lyrics appear in Mike’s poem.
It took Mike several days to write the piece dedicated to his cousin Ken, which includes musical icons and the people, places and songs from the Summer of Love of 1967, including references to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and George Best.
Family devastated by cancer
The 60-year-old is auctioning the unique poem after losing his mum to bowel cancer in 1998 and also his cousin Ken Snailham to prostate cancer in 2016 and who were both supported by Macmillan.
Mike, who first met Tony Blackburn in the bar of the Marquee Club in London in 1981, said: “I’m an only child and in 1967 I was only six, but I had a lot of older cousins and I got hold of their shirt sleeves and they pulled me along through the culture of that great year, that fantastic summer of love.
“So when cousin Ken died, who was like a brother to me, I wanted to dedicate a poem to him and the best thing I thought I could do was to try and encapsulate that wonderful summer, which was so special and precious to him and I just hope I’ve done that.
“The idea for poetry is to paint pictures with words and create images in the mind of the reader. Tony Blackburn has kindly signed the poem, knowing all about the auction, which we hope will raise vital funds for Macmillan to support people living with cancer. I wanted to do anything I could to help Macmillan, who were just fantastic with the support they gave to my mum and Ken.”
Mike, an academic and author, has written several books including “1st Century Radical” and poems, such as “Railway Town”, described as an ‘ode to Carlisle’. He has also advised his friend, and ‘Inspector Morse’ author, Colin Dexter, on his last couple of novels.
Sue McDonald, Macmillan’s relationship fundraising manager for Cumbria, added: “Michael’s poem catches the imagination and this auction for Macmillan is just wonderful.
“It’s something very different and is a unique opportunity for people to own an original piece of art, and anyone who is interested in the 1960s or the summer of love, then this is for them.
“Macmillan is almost entirely funded through donations from our supporters, we can only be there for people thanks to the efforts of people like Mike. His fundraising efforts will help make such a difference to people living with cancer.”
Bidding for the poem will go live on eBay at 5pm today and close at 5pm on Saturday. You can find it by searching for “signed Tony Blackburn summer 1967 poem”.