Willerby Library Workshop

Open Bridges includes a series of workshops hosted by Lou Duffy-Howard with creative writers Christina Lewis and Russ Litten who are working with schools, prison, hospice and community venues to explore freedom and the impact of freedom denied in the world today.


Novelist Russ Litten and I spent a great afternoon with a group from Willerby Library Memory Lane and Willerby Library Book Club. We enjoyed lots of fascinating chat about growing up in East and West Hull, memories of uncles and grandfathers who played for both rugby teams, worked in the whaling industry and as a Tugmaster on the Humber.

After a good supply of tea and biscuits the group all worked together with Russ at the helm to create two brand new poems, one about Freedom and one about the impact of the river and the bridges.


once upon a time
there was someone on a beach
at the ocean
the gulls soared above
in clear blue skies
the wind was stirring up the waves
opened a door in the mind
holidays of yesteryear
books and songs and games
we all played long ago
the freedom to read
the freedom to speak
dreams of doors that opened
to walk the road of memory
and learn from what we know


traffic on the river
traffic on the road
tugs and boats and barges
carry heavy loads
cars and trucks and lorries
go from east to west
red and white and black and white
argue who’s the best
but they share a common goal
they live with every day
deep within their soul
as they work and play
to heal all the division
to wave the magic wand
to realise the vision
and strengthen the city’s bond
so raise up all the bridges
raise the spirits too
where once our hearts were rigid
now we’re born anew

by The Clever Girls of Willerby Library


Thanks to Sally, Sharon, Kim and the team at the most excellent Willerby Library and everyone who came to the workshop, Mollie, Jo F, Jean, Margaret, Jo I, Jenny, Sarah and Sheila.


Lou Duffy-Howard

Open Bridges is a whole tapestry of threads. It’s a celebration of Hull’s lifeblood, the River Hull, 13 movable bridges, the vessels that use the river and the heritage & culture that have grown up in both East and West Hull.


Project concept Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard