Childhood memories and the universe all explored by Bottesford poet

Poet Ray Smart, from Bottesford.
Poet Ray Smart, from Bottesford.
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A collection of poems by a former journalist, lay pastor and bank director from Bottesford are being published tomorrow.

Ray Smart has written ‘Some Poems’, which includes memories of his childhood in a Leicestershire council estate.

The 79-year-old poet said: “I was brought up in a very rough council estate in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, with my background explained in the last poem of the book.

“I owe whatever success I have had to a mother who instilled self-confidence and faith into all five of her children.

“I was the first person from this estate to get to the local grammar school and was introduced on the first day by the form master as ‘the first boy to come to the school from Incubator Avenue’.”

As well as his childhood, much of Ray’s poetry centres on his faith, having spent most of his working life as a lay pastor in Baptist and Evangelical churches, and has preached in the US, Hong Kong and Peru.

However his career has been as much about the written word, with him starting his first job aged 16 as a journalist for the Coalville Times, where he mainly covered weddings, funerals and local sport.

This was interrupted by two years of National Service, and then from a temporary job in a bank filling ink wells and changing blotting paper he rose to become TSB’s area director for the East Midlands until his retirement in 1992.

Asked what inspired him to write poetry, Ray said: “I have thought long and hard about that and although I really don’t like to do it the answer is found in Psalm 8, verse 3-6.

“Any real consideration of the universe, its magnitude and magnificance, or of we insignificant beings who yet have been given an appreciation of beauty and the ability to love and care, tells me that somewhere in it all there is meaning, and my poetry is part of my searching.”

‘Some Poems’ by the father-of-two and grandfather-of-four is available to purchase from internet site Amazon for £3.50.

It can also be ordered though Waterstones and W H Smiths.