Llanhilleth pensioner’s poemsget royal approval

A VALLEYS author who wrote a poem for the Queen on a scrap of wallpaper more than 30 years ago has received a letter from Buckingham Palace, after it was published in a book.

Doreen Atwell, 85, published the 94-poem book about major events, like the Six Bells colliery disaster, and places like the Welsh Valleys and her birthplace, Llanhilleth, this year with the help of her daughter Marilyn Lunnon.

“I used to scribble on paper and put it in a drawer,” said Mrs Atwell. “I couldn’t afford writing paper and I thought, I want to write on something – the front page of books, or wallpaper.

“For every one I wrote and put in a drawer, I would also send one to my daughter Marilyn. Some had shopping lists on the back. She kept hers and I kept mine. She wanted me to go further with it, but years went by.”

She penned a poem for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 which was sent on wallpaper to the palace, who sent her a thank-you letter.

More than 30 years later, once her collection of poetry was in print, Mrs Atwell asked her daughter to post a copy to the Queen, and another to Princes Harry and William, as one poem was about their mother, Diana.

Mrs Lunnon was delighted when a letter from the Queen’s lady-in-waiting arrived, thanking her mother.

It said: “The Queen wishes me to thank you for your card enclosing a book of poems written by your mother, Mrs Doreen Atwell.

“Your kind thought in sending this book for Her Majesty to see is greatly appreciated and The Queen is also most grateful for the loyal sentiments you expressed on behalf of your mother.

“Her Majesty sends Mrs Atwell her best wishes and I am to thank you, once again, for writing as you did.”

Mrs Atwell always says she likes the Queen, said Mrs Lunnon, who grew up in Llanhilleth.

“When I sent the copy, I said she would be so grateful to receive a reply and the Queen’s lady-in-waiting wrote one which was sent via me, and it was a really nice letter,” she added.

Mrs Atwell did not show her poems to people for a long time, she said, so nobody knew she could write poetry.

“Writing was everything to me,” she said. “Being hard of hearing I think that made me put pen to paper, because I could get through to people.”

Poems by a Lady from Wales is on sale in WH Smiths in Cwmbran, Waterstones in Newport and Camelot in Abergavenny.

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