This is the third part in my series of posts about Dad (Wilf Mitford)’s achievements. It’s a summary of the impact of his work. All of the posts in this series are taken directly from an award nomination made by my Mum, Maggie, back in the late 1990s, which is an absolute gem in terms of the history of Dad’s folk music writing period. This is all of course just one part of his songwriting history. Before his venture into Geordie songs he wrote some great pop songs like ‘A Fool for You’ and ‘Sitting Here Thinking’, and in later life he wrote more about his own experiences in his album ‘Geordie on his Holidays in Spain’ and ‘A Northumbrian Geordie’.
“Since I asked him to write a song about The Jarrow Crusade for a project at school in October 1986, Wilf Mitford has made an exceptional contribution to the arts in this area with his treasury of songs depicting people, places and events in the North East of England. His songs reflect all aspects of life in the region, most happy, some sad.
He has brought his songs to audiences who don’t usually get the chance to hear live music (original as well) in senior citizens clubs and hospitals etc. He has performed his songs to a much wider audience by taking them out into the community in schools, community centres, at village fairs, as well as the usual platform of theatres, folk clubs and folk festivals. Events such as the National Garden Festival at Gateshead provided him with an even wider, international audience for his songs of North East life.
His recordings of ten albums on cassette, mainly comprising his own compositions, have enabled his songs to travel even further. They have been played from Radio Newcastle to Radio WGBH FM in Boston in the United States of America. Since making these recordings he has continued his songwriting on North East themes with topics ranging from Newcastle United’s recent success (Magpie Mania) to a song in support of the campaign against the closure of Swan Hunter Shipyard (Save Our Shipyards) which have received airplay at St James Park and Radio Newcastle respectively.
The fact that Wilf has had no financial assistance to help him with his ventures has no way deterred him. His love of people and the North East are his inspiration. “
Thanks Mum for your involvement in putting together this potted history of Dad’s Geordie songwriting career, and thanks also to Dad who documented his work so carefully. I have found in his belongings copies of all of his correspondence with press, TV, radio, and venues where we performed, along with newspaper clippings and of course all of our recordings. It’s a rich archive.
Slowly I’ll share excerpts of his archives here on the blog and of course more and more of his songs. I think he’ll have me blogging for then next 40 years!