A POETRY and recipe book to raise funds for local charities has resulted from a challenge the Mayor of Bolton gave to her consort husband.

Cllr Linda Thomas says partner Len's 'Pandemic Poems, Mayoralty' - combined with a host of recipes garnered with the help of top chef Mike Harrison, will add a new chapter to her civic fundraising efforts.

"“She could see that lockdown was challenging for me,” said Mr Thomas.

“So she set me the task of writing a poem a day which could then be used to raise funds for the five Mayoral Charities.

“I soon realised that ‘a poem a day keeps the doctor away’ as it proved very therapeutic.”

Mike recruited fellow culinary experts to ensure the second half of the book, after Len's purple prose, is filled with mouthwatering recipes. The book - backed by network organisation BNI and Bolton at Home - has been arranged as a literary diary of mayoral events, local people and organisations.

It runs from the start of Cllr Thomas’s mayoralty with a look at how she became Mayor and continues through virtual visits to BACKUP North West, the work of the Octagon with young people and how Halliwell Befriending Service changes lives.

There’s poems about refuge Fortalice andUrban Outreach, verses on The Bolton News and Bolton FM. The milestones of the first lockdown and coping with a pandemic figure in gentle but uplifting prose and there are words of appreciation about volunteers throughout.

Mr Thomas is a former headteacher and, as the Mayor said: "He used to write poems regularly for his assemblies so he is well used to turning to verse to get a point across.

The recipes are from chefs like Michael Caines, Jean Christophe Novelli, Anjali Pathak, Robert Owen Brown and Tom Bridge, as well as Mike Harrison himself.

“We’re delighted with how the book has turned out and hope other people will enjoy sharing the thoughts and food ideas,” added Cllr Thomas.

The book is available from Amazon in Kindle form at £9.99 or paperback at £10.61. For more e-mail mayorsoffice@bolton.gov.uk or call 01204 331090.