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This newsfeed is an archive of past stories, however we do not have the resource to keep updating it. Instead we have a Facebook page on which we post all news, stories and events, so please do visit us on Facebook.

Thanks for your understanding.
The Lichfield Speakers’ Corner Committee.

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The Samaritans at Speakers’ Corner

The Samaritans will be at Speakers’ Corner on Saturday 7 July at 12noon.

Most people have probably heard of the Samaritans, but how much do you actually know about what we do?

Many people don’t realise that you don’t have to be suicidal to contact us. That’s because we offer emotional support to anyone in distress or despair – about anything.

Lots of people don’t k,now how to contact us. It’s easy, you can contact us by phone or email or visit www.samaritans.org and we’re developing an SMS text service.

It’s really safe to contact us – we won’t pass anything on to anyone else, without your permission.

You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 08457 90 90 90, even on Christmas Day! You’ll speak to a real person will answer, not just an answerphone!

How can you help us?
– you can make sure family and friends know about us too
– you can become a volunteer yourself
– or supporting us in other ways

If you are interested in any of this, please come along, or stop as you pass by at Speakers’ Corner in Lichfield on Saturday 7 July at 12 noon.

A day to remember

Saturday at Speakers’ Corner was truly a day to remember. As part of the celebrations to mark the Olympic Torch passing through the city, Speakers’ Corner played host to Ashia Hansen, as part of the People’s Saturday Series, and then to the Town Crier’s Competition. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped to organise such a fantastic day – it was truly a day to remember!

Here’s a few photographs of the day:

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Ashia Hansen to appear at Speakers’ Corner Lichfield

The People’s Saturday will be held at 12 noon, on every Saturday from 5 May – 30 June. Lively discussions will be led by different members of Speakers’ Corner Committee on a variety of topical subjects.

It is hoped this will encourage others to use Speakers’ Corner as a place for spontaneous debate at any time and in the true spirit of free speech.

As part of People’s Saturday, on Saturday 30 June, which is the day of the Olympic Torch Relay and the Town Criers’ Competition, Ashia Hansen, Olympic athlete and Commonwealth Games Gold medal holder, will appear on Speakers’ Corner at 12 noon.

At 11am and 2pm on the same day competitors in the Town Criers’ Competition will shout at Speakers’ Corner, as well as at other locations across the city.

The Peoples’ Saturday

Every Saturday starting on 5 May and ending on 30 June, commencing at 12 noon, you are invited to join us at Speakers’ Corner. Whether you have something to say (about anything at all) or you just want to swell the crowd, you are welcome to come along.

The programme is still taking shape, but we expect the focus from week to week to include The Lichfield Mysteries, Euro 2012 and Buskathon’.

The series will end with a great finale on 30 June, when the national Town Criers’ competition will take place on the site from 10.30am until 2pm, and at 12noon we will welcome Olympian triple jumper Ashia Hansen to speak about the Olympic ideal, ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’.

Palm Sunday at Speakers’ Corner

With the sun shining unexpectedly brightly, Lichfield Cathedral took the unprecedented step of starting its Palm Sunday procession at Speakers’ Corner, to recall what has come to be known as ‘The Triumphal Entry’ (when Jesus entered Jerusalem cheered on by a great crowd, riding on a donkey).

There was a crowd of about 200, palm branches for waving, four brass players from the Salvation Army, two choirs and plenty of liturgical robes… but no donkey. Maybe next year?

The introductory part of the service (‘the gathering’) was held from the new Speakers’ Corner podium, and the procession made its way from there up into the Close, down the south side and into the Cathedral from the west.

Cathedral Palm Sunday liturgy at Speakers Corner

Cathedral Palm Sunday liturgy at Speakers Corner

Unaccustomed as I am…

Some of us are born loud.

I come from a family of bellowers. Sadly, this trait is combined with an inability to listen to others, resulting not so much in conversations as a competition of declamations. My wife and children have helped me to moderate this tendency over the years, so it can be a shock at family gatherings to experience it again, but as an “outsider”. Dismayed by the prospect of a long Christmas Day in the company of non-listeners, we spent the car journey to my Mother’s house devising a game. Each of us came up with a bizarre or unlikely phrase. The game was to insert these into the conversation without being detected. The four phrases we settled on were:

The bull’s knee-caps

Caramelised magic mushrooms

Meat shield

Juggling aardvarks

To our amusement and delight, we were able to pepper our conversations with these phrases; the most response any of us detected was the odd raised eyebrow.

So, moving swiftly on…

Samuel Johnson, son of Lichfield, would be proud to see that we have our own Speakers’ Corner. Situated on Dam Street at the edge of Minster Pool and with a fine view of the Cathedral, Speakers’ Corner is another of Lichfield’s well-kept secrets. It was inaugurated in May 2009 and, following the refurbishment of Minster Pool Walk, is now resplendent with a raised dais and leaning rail – or should that be “Railing Rail”? Until very recently, Speakers’ Corner has been somewhat under-utilised. Arguably, the most significant events held there so far have been Buskathon and Son Of Buskathon, not pertaining to public speaking but nevertheless enjoyable and well-attended. As the organiser of the original Buskathon and compere at SOB, I have spent a lot of time at Speakers’ Corner, much of it seated at the piano. I have become quite attached to it, so was delighted to hear of the Get It Off Your Chest initiative.

The Speakers’ Corner Committee (How did you think it was organised?) are promoting its intended use as a platform for public speaking and debate. Every Saturday at noon, a member of the committee will be at Speakers’ Corner to encourage members of the public to have their say – to Get It Of Their Chest. By establishing a regular slot, it is hoped that the event will become a fixture and that, in time, a crowd of listeners will gather to hear those brave enough to stand up and speak. Furthermore, it may even encourage others to step up to air their own views, perhaps even on the spur of the moment. Of course, any controversial point of view deserves be met with heckling and robust questions from the audience. Who knows, this might just reinvigorate grassroots politics at a time when apathy seems two be the order of the day.

Last Saturday, clutching my printed list of bullet points, I made my debut on the podium. The crowd was sparse to say the least and the only “heckling” I suffered was of the tame variety from my own tiny rent-a-crowd group, who had been persuaded to show up. That said, several passers-by stopped, albeit briefly, as I warmed to my theme. After a shaky and timid start, I found my stride and was able to increase the volume (thank the Lord for healthy vocal apparatus). I stepped down to a smattering of applause and realised that I had really quite enjoyed giving my maiden speech. John Brough from the committee was particularly pleased, although this was largely due to the fact that I had saved him from having to speak himself.

And the theme of my inaugural oration? If you come to Speaker’s Corner on Saturday 12th November at noon, you will find out when reprise my speech. Think of it as the Speaker’s Corner equivalent of BBC iPlayer. I look forward to seeing you there and, who knows, you may hear the call of your own inner ranter.

With kind regards,

Dave Simcox

Get it off your chest!

This autumn a series of nine Saturday events will be taking place at Speakers’ Corner.

Each event will feature at least two members of the Speakers’ Corner Steering Committee talking on topical issues, as well as encouraging members of the public with something to say, to say it on Speakers’ Corner!

So, if you’ve got something to get off your chest, make sure you are in Dam Street at Speakers’ Corner from 12noon at one or all of the following dates

Saturdays in October: 22nd & 29th
Saturdays in November: 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th
Saturdays in December: 3rd, 10th, 17th

See you there!

Speak out in style at Lichfield’s newly refurbished Speakers’ Corner

Lichfield’s Speakers’ Corner, which was launched in 2008, has undergone a stylish transformation as part of the Lichfield Historic Parks Project, and the founding committee is calling for passionate people to speak out at the city’s newest landmark.

Canon Pete Wilcox, Chairman of the Lichfield Speakers’ Corner Committee explained: “As well as a beautifully inscribed stone pedestal, the area now boasts a newly walled listening area, and a speaker’s rail. Not only does the new Speakers’ Corner enhance one of the most beautiful areas of our city, it also creates a fantastic platform on which to have your say. We would like to thank Lichfield city and district councils for helping us to improve the look of the area, as part of the Historic Parks Project.”

Since its launch three years ago, Lichfield Speakers’ Corner has gone from strength to strength, and hosted a number of popular events including pre-election hustings, musical and literary performances, Fairtrade celebrations and a variety of presentations and debates on a wide range of contemporary issues which affect the public.

John Brough, former headteacher of the Friary School, and member of the founding committee commented: “Lichfield can be proud that it has the most attractive Speakers’ Corner in the country. I’ve been really pleased to speak up on the corner and I’d encourage others to join in and get involved. I’m looking forward to seeing our newly styled Speakers’ Corner becoming well used by local people, and perhaps as famous as London’s Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner! For as our very own Dr Johnson so rightly reminded us: ‘In order that all men may be taught to speak the truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it’.”

Speakers’ Corner is a platform for people to exercise their precious right to freedom of speech. The platform is there quite simply for any individual or group of people of all ages to express their views on any topic at any reasonable time, or maybe to air their musical and literary talents. John Brough concluded: “Speakers’ Corner is yours – it belongs to you and it belongs to the city – let’s use it and let’s hear you!”

For more information, please contact Lichfield Speakers’ Corner Founding Committee, Chair Canon Pete Wilcox, Lichfield Cathedral, on 01543 306100.