BIOGRAPHY of the writers of the Musical
Salute to another Portsmouth Hero. from the Portsmouth NEWS 5th August 2005.
Coming soon a new musical - about a past Portsmouth hero. And this time it isn't Nelson. Pounds
Of Love has been written by two South Downe Musical Society members in celebration of John Pounds,
a crippled cobbler who in the early 1800s saved hundreds of vagabond children by teaching, feeding and caring for them.
Now Bryan Hodgkins, of Portchester, and Mick Cooper, of Paulsgrove, are seeking an amateur company or school to perform their work.
They were inspired by the importance of Pounds contribution to Portsmouth's most vulnerable people - 'the sweepings of the streets' as they were described.
A romantic theme within the musical is based on the true story of two young characters, as an example of the happiness Pounds brought to otherwise miserable lives.
Although Portsmouth people voted Pounds their Man Of The Millennium ahead of Nelson and Dickens, Bryan believes the humble man who inspired the Ragged Schools movement throughout Britain still lacks recognition in his own city.
'What John Pounds did with no thought of personal gain or recognition would get him a knighthood today. We hope this musical will bring the story to a wider audience. Bryan, formerly a member of Hayling Operatic Society, has previously had two plays performed.
Mick has been active as singer and keyboard player for 40 years. In the 1970s he was resident at the Honky Tonk Bar at Southsea and in the 80s he did three summer seasons at South Parade Pier.
He decided to try his hand at a musical after some friends were successful with one, and joined South Downe to learn more about putting a theatre piece together.
He says: 'Bryan was already a member and had the script and lyrics for Pounds Of Love, and I set about writing the songs. The two men are working with the John Pounds of Portsmouth Heritage Appeal, which built a replica of his tiny workshop at the Unitarian Church in the High Street as a focal paint for visitors.
Appeal chairman Geoff Worthington says: 'Bryan and Mick have done a remarkable job which gives a new dimension to the John Pounds story.
I very much hope to see this production on the stage in Portsmouth next year and would be happy to talk to interested individuals or groups.
This webpage is sponsored by Mick Cooper with the co-operation of the John Pounds of Portsmouth Heritage Appeal.