Leamington businessman and former children's BBC TV star to give live recital of the 52 poems he wrote to chart the course of an eventful 2020

Alan Heap is giving the back-to-back reading of all of the verses in his book Hindsight is 2020: 52 poems that journal the year no-one predicted, from which all proceeds of its sales will go to the Don't Look Down fund for research into acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 6:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 6:12 pm
Alan Heap and Louise Dillon Bennett

A Leamington businessman and former BBC children’s TV star who wrote 52 poems – one for each week of 2020 – is set to give a special recital of all his verses to raise money for a leukaemia charity.

Alan Heap will livestream himself reciting all 52 poems back-to-back on Saturday May 1 from 11am outside 1 Mill Street in Leamington, where his company Purple Monster is based.

The poems chart the course of that eventful year, diarising all the significant events in lively, humorous and often moving poetry.

For each reading, Alan will paint the picture of what was happening around him at the time.

He will be reading the poems from his book, Hindsight is 2020: 52 poems that journal the year no-one predicted, with all proceeds of the anthology’s sale going to Don’t Look Down, which funds research into acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Louise Dillon, the founder of Don’t Look Down, lost her son Fred to the disease when he was just 14.

The book began life as part of Purple Monster’s creative marketing plan, but as the year unfolded, it took on a far greater significance for Alan and his followers on Linkedin.

He wrote and then recorded a video of the weekly poems every Friday and they became a source of fun, inspiration and comfort to business colleagues and friends alike.

Alan said: “I was inspired to write and record my poems after seeing a one-man play by Sir Ian McKellen.

"I thought it would be an interesting way to market our creative business. I based my poems to begin with on subjects I was talking to audiences about on my travels.

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, I found the theme and tone of my poems changed radically.

“Then when the first lockdown happened, it was clear my poems were going to be more meaningful and impactful than I had thought at the start of the year.”

Alan’s poems reflected key moments in 2020, such as the murder of George Floyd, the US Presidential elections and brighter moments like pubs reopening and Captain Tom’s fundraising.

Purple Monster had its own challenges too.

It lost 80 per cent of its work almost overnight as global conferences were cancelled in the first few months.

However, the firm adapted to live-streaming virtual conferences and is in a strong position now.

“I am so grateful to be able to say we are one of the luckier smaller companies who have made it thus far in good shape,” Alan added.

“For many of my friends and colleagues in the events and entertainment industry, it hasn’t been so straightforward.”

As Alan’s poems became more popular, his followers encouraged him to compile the poems into a book.

He said: “I thought the book would be a great opportunity to raise money for charity.

“I met Louise online after she attended one of my TEDx talks, and I knew she had worked so hard to set up Don’t Look Down in the wake of her son’s death, so I thought it would be a deserving and appropriate charity to raise money for.

“Fred was a vivacious, happy-go-lucky boy, and Louise’s charity is doing great work in helping to stop other families having to say goodbye to loved ones far too soon.

“I wanted to recite all of my poems as a way of promoting the book and Don’t Look Down, and I’ll hopefully receive a few donations during my performance too. I’m not sure how long it will take – but I’ll get through them all!”

Anyone wishing to watch Alan’s livestream can do so at https://fb.me/e/KgqPHu9Z from 11am on Saturday May 1st.

Fred Bennett's 'Don't Look Down' Fund is a Special Named Fund at CCLG raising funds for research into acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

To donate to Don’t Look Down, visit dontlookdown.blog, and to buy a copy of Alan’s poetry, visit amazon.co.uk/Hindsight-2020-Journal-No-one-Predicted/dp/1838488200/