Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Echoes of Mary – a Celebration

June 25th, 2022


So many have said they’re hoping to attend Echoes of Mary that we’ve hired a hall for that quaintly named event the Funeral Tea.

No. not the Drill Hall where Mary and Karen Tovell ran those famous storytelling workshops; nor the London Welsh Centre scene of some notable performances by Mary and, of course, home of the London Welsh Chorale the source of so much happy singing for us both under the direction of Kenneth Bowen.

We’ve been fortunate in securing the Portico at 23a Knights Hill, Norwood, London SE27 0HS, just a few minutes walk from the Crematorium. It has a nice big main hall with a piano and pa system.

This means we’ll be able to continue with singing and stories and sharing memories of Mary . And there will be tea and cakes and there will certainly be something sparkling as well.

I’ll be posting the webcast details next week.

But, meanwhile  as a reminder, the first part of Echoes of Mary will be at the West Norwood Crematorium, Norwood Rd, Norwood, London SE27 9JU on Tuesday 12th July starting at 2.30 pm.







Celebration Echoversary

July 12th, 2023

Dear Readers of Mary’s blog,

It’s been a long time since the last posting – more than six months since we advertised our pre-Christmas CRISIS fundraiser.

But today, on the anniversary of the Echoes of Mary Celebration, it feels fitting for me to take to her airwaves once again. I’d like to share a few thoughts and memories and also to ask your advice.

At just the moment I’m writing this a year ago we were arriving at the West Norwood Crem to be greeted by so many friends and family, all brightly dressed as we had asked. We were deliberately a little early so there was opportunity to talk to lots of people before the ceremony. It was a seriously hot day, as those of you who were there will remember.

There was quite a bit of faffing around in the sunshine as we sorted final details of pall-bearers (you can’t have uneven heights), as well as making sure there were adequate seats for those that needed them – particularly the three heavily pregnant ones (whose lovely offspring, Griff, Raphaella, Theo, will learn what a fine occasion they attended). And making sure the live feed for friends across the globe was working properly.

Once Simon & Garfunkel had ushered us all in to Bridge Over Troubled Water the tributes from Valerie Grove, Sally Tonge, Jo Cameron and Bridget Greeves were fascinating, humorous, reminiscent and moving. The singing of Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah and Ar Hyd y Nos / All through the night sung in both languages was much enhanced by the thirty or so regular singers attending and Malcolm Aldridge’s stirring accompaniment on the chapel organ. The recording of my singing of Wolfram’s Lied from Tannhäuser accompanied by Richard Mapp – which Mary had heard and enjoyed the afternoon before she died – felt successful. The words of comfort from the Celebrant Joanna Adam were simple and strengthening. And we all came out to We’ll keep a welcome in the hillsides – which would have made Mary smile.

I think we could all feel her smiling during the aftermath – or aftersing – conducted by Steve Copeland, when much pink prosecco seemed mysteriously to vanish.

So, dear readers, this is Blog 591, and I’m looking for your thoughts and advice about how best to keep this remarkable resource available. I’m not particularly au fait with blogs and websites and at the moment if you google Mary it all gets a bit circular. Can anyone suggest a way in which this might be redesigned – possibly good use of keywords and references? – so that some of the Storyworks wisdom and wit can be picked up, passed on, freely used.

And now, getting towards the time we had said good bye to Mary, I’m going to post this blog and look forward to any thoughts and comments.

PS: Abiding love my dearest Mary.

Raising Cash for CRISIS #8

December 3rd, 2022

We started back in 2015, just the three of us, Steve, Paul and Mary, with a concert of songs and stories, to raise cash for CRISIS, fundraising to end homelessness. After the last two years of covid-induced absence, when we were obliged to do what virtual fundraising we could manage, you may remember the flyer from 2020 (rt) tomorrow we have a happy return to the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham. Supported by Dave Kent on horn and singers Ruth Beckmann and Annika Lindskog we shall be performing Raising Cash for CRISIS #8.

Thanks to video footage from George Venus, edited by Jean Tarjot, dear Mary will be there too, reading from A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

If, by any chance, dear Readers and Followers of this blog, you were inclined to help us with our fundraising, all you have to do is go to and as the Crisis slogan says ‘Together we will end homelessness.’


Echoes of Mary ring on

November 26th, 2022

Dear readers and followers of Mary’s blog,

Photos can fade while memories stay bright. This photo of our wedding day in warm Pembrokeshire sun is 45 years old today. They say that anniversaries are the hardest times. But they also focus the memories and that was an entirely wonderful day. As I’m finding, the echoes of my dear Mary ring on. Next week, on Sunday 4th, we’ll be putting on our eighth Raising Cash for CRISIS concert at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham. It will include a video of Mary’s reading of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

Until then…

With love abiding.

Echoes of Mary ~ A Casting to the Winds

October 23rd, 2022

Dear Readers and Followers of Mary’s blog,

Today on her birthday at about 2.30 pm we shall be casting my dearest Mary’s ashes to the winds.

The occasion will be on the Pembrokeshire coast between Caerfai and St Nons at the place she chose and loved so well.

Please think on us then with love and remembrance.

Echoes of Mary ~ Foxes and Figs

August 20th, 2022

Now and then, dear readers of Mary’s Blog, the synchronisities of which you may recall Mary was very fond come thick and fast.

So it started with a letter  which arrived just before I left for Leeds last Friday. It was from John Pole the very special song writer and puppeteer story teller. He wrote that he’d only just heard of Mary’s death and wanted to send his deepest sympathy.  I was particularly pleased to receive it as when putting out word of Mary’s death I’d not been able to find a recent contact for John.

“She was such a warm, kind and caring person, always a listener as well as a teller. She did what all great storytellers do, making all her audiences her friends.”

John had joined a storytelling course which Mary ran in Tooting. Much material for this Storytelling Starters blog came from there down the years. And the synchronicity? When John had joined the course he had recognised the name Medlicott as belonging to someone who had as a pupil assisted him with the plays he produced at Westminster School in the early sixties – yes, me. And I remembered him very well, particularly for his principled decision to get out of the private and into the state system.

Second synchronicity: I well remembered Mary’s delight in John’s song Mr Fox but failed to find it in my trawl through past blogs apart from a reference that Mary had enjoyed singing it.  Fox cubs playing in the garden this weak had already made me think Mary might have liked them as a blog topic. I found a version of the song I didn’t much like on the web. So writing to John to thank him for his letter I asked if there was a version he liked and indeed if he might let me put the lyrics in the blog this week. His answers: yes and yes. First the truly wonderful Frankie Armstrong  (with whom Mary had worked) and here is a link to her singing Mr Fox  John also sent the lyrics and – synchronicity 3 – the year he wrote it was my last year at school when I helped him with The Good Soldier Schweik :

                 Mr Fox

Outside Mr Fox’s garden
Three maids playing with a golden ball
Jenny threw it up and Susan caught it
Mary bounced it over the wall
The wall is high   Mr Fox has a little red eye
In she run to fetch it back again
The garden gate stood open wide
Suddenly it was locked and bolted
Mr Fox stood just inside
The wall is high  the grasses shiver and the tall trees sigh
He said ‘I’ll keep your golden ball Miss Mary
I shall have it and here you’ll stay
You’ll keep my house and be my servant
Never stir out for a year and a day’
The wall is high his smile is cruel and his eyes are sly
Spring and summer passed like shadows
She watched the green leaves fade and fall
She walked alone in the empty garden
And Mr Fox said    nothing at all
The wall is high  never a soul come near nor by 
Three strange things he did forbid her
‘Never you touch my iron box
Never go in the thirteenth bedroom
Nor near the bed’ said Mr Fox
 ‘The wall is high   Mary  don’t you ask me why’
Mary she rose up one morning,
Found that iron box on a shelf
But of all the rooms at Mr Fox’s
Bedrooms there were only twelve
The wall is high Mary don’t you peep nor pry 
One day Mr Fox went walking
In that box she found a key
It fitted a lock she’d never unfastened
And when she opened it  what did she see ?
The wall is high   the lock said ‘Stop’ and the key said ‘Fly’
In Mr Fox’s thirteenth bedroom
A naked sword hung on the wall
In a silver bowl on the bed’s black counterpane
Mary saw her golden ball
The wall is high  the bed said ‘Come’ and the sword said ‘Die’
In she ran to fetch it back again
To snatch it off the great black bed
Out jumped Mr Fox and leapt at her
His teeth flashed white and his eyes shone red
 The wall is high
(This is a possible (extra) final verse –
Outside Mr Fox’s garden
Three maids playing with a golden ball
Jenny threw it up and Susan caught it
Molly bounced it over the wall )

What’s synchronous about figs? I hear you cry.Andy Feeley, who has been sorting our plumbing for very many years, was very sorry not to be able to come to Echoes of Mary ~ the Celebration. and when he came to do some fixing on Thursday he brought some of his figs (see rt) that Mary always loved. And yesterday Annalee Curran, one of our very closest friends who had not been able to attend either being Covid-bound came to and indeed brought most of our lunch. During which she had a text from Andy Feeley saying he had left her some of his figs too. For why? They are next door neighbours.

Thank you dear Mary for being the begetter of all this figgy, foxy storyworks.

Tomorrow to Mathri.

Echoes of Mary – the Gorgeous Grandniece

August 14th, 2022

Dear Mary’s blog readers this posting comes,  with apologies, a little late

The reason is consequent upon spending the first night away from home and the occasion the celebration in Leeds of the wedding between our nephew David and Iris a few weeks ago in Amsterdam.

It has been a wonderful day which Mary would have loved, with much sympathy and love expressed by family and friends alongside some enchanting fun and games with the main event.

And here for your delectation is a photo of  Myra the gorgeous grand niece showing her festive fingernails.

’til soon.

choes of Mary ~ Xcited Xenopus

August 6th, 2022

Dear Mary Blog readers and followers another possible page from Echoes of Mary ~ a Miscellany

Xcited Xenopus

A xenopus is not a well-known thing.
A kind of creature,
Not a dog
Or a hog,
A xenopus is a kind of frog.

The xenopus of this little tale
Also has an unusual name.
Not X-ray
Or Xylophone
But Xander.

Xander Xenopus loves to eat
Not butterflies
Or bees,
But letter ‘e’s.
It makes him very excited.

Xander Xenopus loves lots of snacks.
Not breakfast
Or lunch.
But ‘e’-eating snacks.
I’m afraid he’s discovered this poem.

Xander Xenopus is eating this poem.
Not the ‘a’s
Or the ‘b’s.
He’s eating the ‘e’s.
He’s already swallowed an ‘e’ in the title.

I wonder which ‘e’ he’ll eat n xt!

Words by Mary M dlicott.

Illustration by Sarah Williams who luckily do sn’t hav  an   in h r nam .

‘Till soon.

Echoes of Mary ~ the Swans

July 30th, 2022

Swans, the story tells, bond for life. Mary through her Storyworks is somehow telling me that bond echoes on.

Taking a much needed constitutional yesterday in the almost cool of the evening in Brockwell Park I came upon the family of swans Mary and I have been following for several years. I’m delighted to be able to report in picture that this year seven cygnets are doing very well thank you.

A number of you Mary-Blog followers have said you like the idea of consolidating this remarkable storytelling resource. Please do advise on what  might be most useful and helpful.

Meanwhile, here’s a poem by Mary that we’re planning to include in due course in what might be titled: Echoes of Mary ~ the Book.


Sad Swan Serena

Swan Serena sailed the river, no-one knew how sad she felt,

Wanting, waiting, never finding, searching for a silver dress.

Until one moonlit night Serena, yearning for her heart’s desire,

Dipped her head towards the water, swans-neck curved in gracious ‘S’.

In the depths was something silver mirrored in the full moon’s light.

Serena wondered: what was she seeing? At first she simply couldn’t guess.

At last Serena knew the answer: she was looking at herself!

Clothed in moonbeams, shimmering, lovely, reflected was a swan princess.

Each night now when moonlight glimmers Serena meets her silver self,

Glides the silent, shining river, sadness changed to happiness.

Sail on, Serena, keep on searching in the water’s hidden depths.

One bright day when sun is shining you might find a golden dress.


Until soon dear Mary-Blog readers.

Echoes of Mary ~ the Singing

July 23rd, 2022

Dear Echoes of Mary Storyworks blog readers,

It feels right this week to share a little more from the Celebration.

So here’s the traditional song O Waly Waly arranged by our long-term friend, singer, choral conductor and composer Mark Sproson; conducted by Steve Copeland and sung by our wonderful fine friends (oh, and me). The video is by our nephew David Pelham.

Mary was enjoying this I do believe.

Until soon.

Echoes of Mary ~ the Celebration

July 16th, 2022

Well, it was a fine celebration. I’ve only just watched the webcast. And found it both moving and joyous. Here’s the link again in case you’d like to see the tidied up version:

As Mary would undoubtedly have said, and as I do now, first so much gratitude to the pall bearers (whom I suggested might be called the Mary-bearers) nephew Dave Pelham representing the family; Steve Copeland representing the singing side of our life; Michael Wrigley representing WiPs and Sally Tonge representing Storytelling.

Then in the service itself  beautiful heartfelt and heart-meant tributes from Valerie Grove, Sally Tonge, Jo Cameron and Bridget Greeves . As well as fine words of committal and comfort from Joanna Adam, the Celebrant.

Over a hundred and twenty managed to attend on a very hot day and it was a great and colourful (as requested) occasion. There were connections and re-connections and some surprising tangents and links discovered among Mary’s and my friends.

Thanks, too, for the lovely cards and messages and memories. Also the generous contributions to CRISIS in Memory of Mary ( ).

If any of you dear blog readers would like a copy of the order of service and the poems read out do please let me know.

As I begin a return to work through the plans Mary and I were developing for new books and collections I find myself minded to keep this blog going a while. There’s just so much I feel she would have wished to share.

So, more anon.

Meanwhile, here’s a neat picture of some of the celebrations at The Portico.