A COLLECTION of previously unpublished poetry by late Colwall resident John Stanning has been released to raise money for the village church.

Mr Stanning, a former parish councillor and Worcestershire county cricketer, lived in Colwall for 25 years before his death last May after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease.

Writing was always one of his great loves, and the collection, The Children's Army and Other Verse, brings together a lifetime of jottings' discovered by his widow Merle following his death.

His daughter Judy Brierley said it contained everything from wartime verse penned during his years with the Worcestershire Regiment to amusing ditties on various aspects of modern life.

"He was always writing ditties and funny things for his family," she said. "For our birthdays we would often find little poems in our cards, and if ever something happened that he felt strongly about he would write a poem about it.

"It was his way of commenting on what was happening."

Mr Stanning was a churchwarden and life-long church-goer, and Mrs Brierley said it was very appropriate for his poetry to be raising money for Colwall Church.

"It's also lovely for us because it means we have a collection of the poems all together," she added. "Most of them were just jotted down on odd bits of paper before."

Retiring Colwall rector Carl Attwood remembers Mr Stanning as an extraordinary man'.

"He came from a tradition where you were very modest about your abilities, but he was a fabulous scholar and an incredible sportsman," he said. "He had all these amazing gifts and one of those was poetry. Some of his work is, by any standards, incredibly good.

"Donating the profits to the church is a lovely gesture, and it is very typical of the whole family, who are a very imaginative and thoughtful group of people."

The Children's Army is available from John Goodwin estate agent, Walwyn Road, priced £3.50.