Lockdown Bloomsday celebration takes place in Melbourn

PUBLISHED: 09:09 25 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 25 June 2020

Melbourn's Bloomsday celebration reader Hugh Pollock. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group

Melbourn's Bloomsday celebration reader Hugh Pollock. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group

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A lockdown Bloomsday Celebration was held in Melbourn’s United Reformed Church cemetery to celebrate the joys of reading and James Joyce’s great life-affirming novel Ulysses.

Melbourn's Bloomsday celebration eader Eirwen Karner. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration GroupMelbourn's Bloomsday celebration eader Eirwen Karner. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group

Published in 1920 and celebrated now across the world as one of the greatest novels ever published, the action of the novel is spread across a single day – June 16, 1904, in Dublin

The Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group was founded five years ago in support of WaterAid, which provides piped water to impoverished communities in deprived countries

Melbourn's Bloomsday celebration reader Hugh Pollock. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration GroupMelbourn's Bloomsday celebration reader Hugh Pollock. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group

WaterAid’s work has increased massively since the coronavirus outbreak as repeated hand-washing and maintaining personal hygiene is impossible without piped water.

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Group co-ordinator Hugh Pollock said: “We learned of the demands confronting WaterAid during this pandemic. So from the depths of lockdown in Melbourn Village in South Cambridgeshire four of us simply decided to raise the WaterAid Banner, celebrate Bloomsday, and ask everyone – particularly anyone who enjoys reading books – to make an urgent donation direct to WaterAid.

“The weather was kind to us throughout and the sun shone as musicians Adrian and Naomi Brind performed. Their rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow neatly linked the circumstances of the novel, the cemetery venue we had chosen, and the dreadful COVID deprivations which affects us all.”

Melbourn's Bloomsday celebration musicians Adrian and Naomi Brind. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration GroupMelbourn's Bloomsday celebration musicians Adrian and Naomi Brind. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group

The selected readings from the novel delivered by Eirwen Karner revealed the racism and anti-semitism from the novel’s ‘Dalkey schoolroom episode’.

Hugh Pollock followed by reading the ‘Glasnevin cemetery episode’ describing the events of the funeral of Bloom’s friend and neighbour poor Paddy Dignam, which included Bloom reflecting sadly on the death of his own child, Rudi.

Melbourn's Bloomsday celebration musicians Adrian and Naomi Brind. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration GroupMelbourn's Bloomsday celebration musicians Adrian and Naomi Brind. Picture: Melbourn Bloomsday Celebration Group

A dignified minute silence was then called for and led by Naomi Brind in a tribute to all those who lost their lives as a result of COVID 19. Both musicians then played Adrian’s moving arrangement of You’ll Never Walk Alone for the bereaved families, NHS staff and key workers on the front line.

Donate direct to WaterAid via the online form at www.wateraid.org/uk/donate.


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