by Sandy Wager, Founder of Whitleigh Arts


See the photos of the Final day (3rd Oct) HERE

Plymouth’s Poet Laureate, Michael Sullivan with his workshop (11th April) HERE

See the photos of St Georges Day (25th April) HERE 

Terri Nixon with her workshop (2nd May) HERE

Ruth Snell with her Poetry Walk (9th May) HERE

Jane Anderson-Brown with her music workshop (6th June) HERE

Ruth Snell with her workshop (4th July) HERE

The Whitleigh Words Festival Treasure Hunt (July for two weeks) HERE

See the photos of Susmita Bhattacharya’s Workshop (1st Aug) HERE


2015 celebrates 65 years since the first houses in Whitleigh were built in 1950.

Throughout 2015  I ran an 8 month event, ‘The Whitleigh Words Festival’ which was launched on Saturday 21st March 2015. This was the nearest day to  ‘World Story Telling Day’ on Thursday 19th March, culminating in the Whitleigh Words Finale Festival which coincided with ‘National Poets Day’ on Saturday October 3rd 2015.

The Festival included Workshops, a Prize Crossword, a Treasure Hunt, Free Book Hunts, Live Readings by local Writers and established Poets, Wordsmiths, local Song Writers and Story-Tellers including Plymouth’s Poet Laureate, Michael Sullivan.

Thank you to Vital Sparks for funding this project and believing in me.


1. FREE monthly word workshops were held at St Chads Church Hall. See more HERE!


2. I held a Treasure Hunt, which lasted for 2 weeks, with clues under 10 painted pebbles, placed in safe and accessible places around Whitleigh during the summer of 2015. Each clue was literary related to suit all age groups and abilities.

A Google Map and a paper map directed participants to each clue. There were cash prizes covering 3 different age groups. 

The Treasure Hunt was open to all of Plymouth residents and ran for 2 weeks, to give everyone a chance to compete the Treasure Hunt at their own leisure.

The aim of the Treasure Hunt was to  promote health and fitness.

See more information about the Treasure Hunt HERE!

Sadly the Treasure Hunt did not work out…..the clues were continuously removed or destroyed and I just could not keep up with replacing all of the clues.


3.  The Whitleigh Words Writing Contest was open to all Plymouth Residents.

See the full list of rules and extra information HERE!

The following subjects were chosen to encourage people to enter this contest….

a)  Whitleigh, 65 Year’s In The Making

b)  Plymouth Tales

c)  My School

d)  My Family

e)  My Best Friend


The forms of writing accepted were…

a) Poetry

b) A Story

c) Song Writing/Composition 

In all, 26 entries were submitted, I was hoping for about 69 entries so that every tree on Whitleigh Green had an entry tied to each tree, but this year was a great start with some of the most incredible writing I have seen for a long time! Thank you to all who entered and thank you and congratulations to the winners!  


4.  Other Ideas that were put into place included Scrabble games for fun, Crossword Puzzle Cash Prize Draw in our Whitleigh Newsletter (Hiya Whitleigh), and Free Monthly Book Hunts. I gave out more than 500 free books between March and October 2015. Thank you to everyone who donated their wonderful books.


5.  The Whitleigh Words Festival finale coincided with National Poetry Day, the nearest Saturday, to October 2nd 2015 at the Albemarle Inn, Whitleigh Green Shopping area and St Chads Church Hall.


6.  The festival included live readings and Free Workshops by local Writers, established Plymouth Poets, Wordsmiths, Song Writers, and Story-Tellers.




Whitleigh Words Festival Exhibition

All entrants works were displayed in clear weatherproof bags, attached to long ribbons and tied to the trees on Whitleigh Green on the day of the Whitleigh Words Festival Finale on Saturday 3rd October 2015. 




So many local residents pulled out all the stops to help me make this Words Festival a great success. I have met many new and special people that I will never forget. YOU are all amazing, thank you so very much for believing in me.

I would like to thank the following people for all of their continued help since March 21st when this festival began. Each one of these wonderful people volunteered their time to make this event work :-
Michael Walker, Tom Buckley, Faith Jordan, Whitleigh Time Bank, Harley & Star Drew, Southway Library, Scott Cook, Ray Glasson, iOrchestra’s Music Lab, Fiona Evans, PCH, PCC, Cindy Diane Potter, Gemma Ward, Paula Day, Carole Hicking, Porkies Cafe, Cheery Buys, Whitleigh Post Office, Whitleigh Charity Shop, The Co-op, The Albemarle Inn, Julie Sweet, St Chads Church. Vital Sparks, Whitleigh Big Local and Radio Plymouth FM.


Huge thanks to all of the fantastic Poets, Authors and Writers :-

Mike Fullerton, Plymouth Poet Laureate Michael Sullivan, Nick Ingram, Ray Glasson, Andy Blackwell, Terri Nixon, Ruth Snell, Susmita Bhattacharya, Wood View School Children, Joanna Gawn & Ron Dickerson.


Huge thanks also to all of the very talented Singers & Musicians & Performers :- 

Plymouth Ukulele Players, Whitleigh Community Primary School Taiko Drummers, Plymouth Morris Men, Isobel Cleverley, Whitleigh Wireless, Miss Von Trapp, Jane Anderson-Brown, Dawn Fallon & Ann, Mike Fullerton, Scott Cook, Jasmine Tyson, Emma Lovering, Jason Peerless.

Thank you to the photographers Ron Andrews & Jan Wager who took the most wonderful photos. I now have beautiful memories of a very small idea and dream that has grown into the most fantastic project that I never thought would ever happen.

Heaps of thanks to all of the Stall Holders & Sellers, your gorgeous products showed how much talent we have locally….Buy local! :-

Little Book Hollow, Whitleigh Edibles, Ray Glasson, Angie Whites Memory Books, Michelle Roberts Melting Moments, Alison Mitchell’s Little Bits of Bling, Andy Cocksey Artist, Artisand Graphics, Sue Fry’s Phoenix Cards, Sarah Tyson Crafts, Creative Faces, Hayley Williams‘s Memory Books and Boxes, Maria Richmond’s Chain-Mailled (Jewellery Designer), Feel Better With A Book, Whitleigh Big Local, Radio Plymouth.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to enter The Whitleigh Words Writing Contest.
My goodness, I am blown away with the talent and skill that is on our doorsteps! Each and every one of you that entered this contest are amazing….

Since the start of this project, which would not have been possible without the support of Vital SparksI have given away more than 500 FREE books to our Whitleigh residents since March 2015.

It has been exhausting, fun, enlightening, frustrating but enormously rewarding.

Throughout this lengthy project I have found that the most difficult thing to tackle (and failed) was to gain any media attention for this project from The Plymouth Herald. The Herald finally published this amazing event on Friday 2nd October 2015. A bit too late for my liking and, they even got my name wrong and called me Sally Wager. Shame on you Plymouth Herald!

I deeply apologise if I have left anyone out. It is not intentional. Please contact me if I have omitted anyone and I will update this message to include you.

The most kindest regards to you all,
Sandy Wager
Founder of Whitleigh Arts




What else was planned for The Whitleigh Words Festival? Find out HERE!

Whitleigh Words Festival FREE Workshops HERE!

The Whitleigh Words Festival Contest Rules HERE!

The Whitleigh Words Poetry Walk HERE!

Festival Music & Acts HERE!



Bus 44 leaves Royal Parade.  The bus stops at Whitleigh Green. See Plymouth Citybus Timetables HERE!

See the Whitleigh map HERE!


Many thanks to Vital Sparks for all of your help and support.

For help, advice and writers resources look HERE!


  1. Ray Glasson says:

    I am sure we have all heard of the OBE being awarded to people we do not know.
    I STRONGLY RECOMMEND Sandy for one along with a personal award of a HHW [her hard work]. Thank you Sandy a mammoth effort producing a brilliant event. WELL DONE.


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