What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?

WELSHMAN William H Davies wrote his famous poem “Leisure” over 100 years ago. I wonder what he would he have made of the hectic lives most of us now lead?

Matt Donnelly is a busy chap but he manages to find a bit of time, most mornings, for a brisk walk over the moors around Darwen. admiring what he calls “the area’s natural beauty.”

Pandemic restrictions have been a problem for many folk but Matt has been able to maintain his almost daily exercise routine. And now he has written a book about his experiences over the past 18 months under the Covid cloud.

It will be the second Darwen book to be launched at the Heritage Centre in the past three weeks and looks certain to follow the success of Darren & Darreners, People and Places, by Harold Heys.

Matt has called his book Surviving Lockdown, My Photographic Diversion and he already has more than 100 orders prior to the noon launch tomorrow.

Darwen charity the Lloyd Trust has sponsored both books and every penny taken will go to the East Lancashire Hospice.

Harold’s book sold out a print run over some 340 copies and Matt’s book of photographs with sparkling commentaries on the people he has met on his travels and the sights he has seen will be just as successful.

The hospice looks set to make several thousand pounds from the dual initiative.

Matt is well-known in the Darwen-Blackburn area as a swimming coach.

For several years before he retired he was the borough’s health walks leader. He probably knows his way around the area’s moorland better than anybody.

He and his wife Katherine live on Riverside Heights, Darwen.

Copies of the books will join an excellent collection of local history books in Darwen Library which have been written by local authors in the past few years.