A poem about life in Huddersfield is going viral on the internet.

Holmfirth dad Sean O’Toole has always liked poetry but has only just got round to writing his own and one he’s done about Huddersfield has captured people’s hearts and minds with almost 20,000 views already on social media.

It’s dedicated to all things Huddersfield – not so much about the landmarks like Castle Hill but captivating people with mentions for sprawling council estates like Walpole and tiny secluded hamlets such as Hall Bower.

Sean put it on his X (formerly Twitter) feed and has been amazed by the reaction.

The 35-year-old revealed the first time he recited the poem in public was at the monthly Ink Spill Poetry meeting at the Head of Steam pub in St George’s Square, Huddersfield, where poets have a writing workshop followed by an open mic.

Sean said: “I plucked up the courage to go and recite the poem in public and there were about 40 people watching so it was quite nerve-wracking.

“I was testing the water, I suppose, but the reaction was outstanding and the feedback was really positive.”



This gave Sean the confidence to record himself reciting the poem on his iPhone with Castle Hill in the distance and he then posted it on his X account called @smileawhilezine

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” he said. “I’m new to poetry but this has given me the reassurance that people can relate to my work. I wanted it to ring true for the people who live in Huddersfield and to raise a few eyebrows. They know what I’m talking about.

“People have messaged me to say they’ve learned something new about Huddersfield such as that sports manufacturer Mitre was based here and the famous Orange guitar amps were designed and made in the town.

“A couple of people have told me it brought them to tears so I feel the poem has had an educational and an emotional impact as well as a civic pride element too.”

Although new to poetry, Sean is not new to creative writing. He’s a massive Huddersfield Town fan and set up the Town fanzine Smile Awhile with friend Daniel Madden in 2015 which ran for around five years.

Sean started creative writing when he was 13 and a teacher realised he had a talent for it in a GCSE lesson when he was 15.



The first ever live gig Sean went to was the Beastie Boys at Manchester MEN aged 15 and it inspired him to write lyrics, so much so that it led to him becoming an MC rapper in a live band.

Sean is the safeguarding officer at Kirklees College and is a former Head of Year at Honley High School where he specialised in safeguarding and behavioural issues. He’s also done youth support work and worked in residential children’s homes.

Sean lives in Holmfirth with fiancée Rachael Foley, who has encouraged Sean to share his work across social media, and the couple have a 13-year-old son, Morris, and an eight-year-old daughter, Florence.

To watch Sean reciting the poem go to https://x.com/smileawhilezine/status/1798623400132538829

He’s also on Instagram at @seanyvision


An Ode to Huddersfield 

The chip shop, the bookies and our urban sprawls

Stand shoulder to shoulder

With rolling hills and dry stone walls

High rise flats are stacked

Next to fields full of cow pat

Whilst a castle sits on mound

Pondering on our provincial town

Once a jewel in the textile crown

We wrapped the world in cotton

The yards of our yarns will never be forgotten

Two rivers weave and pass through

Armitage Bridge and the villages of Moonrakers and Cuckoos

From Holme Moss to Longwood Tower

Emley Moor Mast down to Hall Bower

The ghostly bells of Newsome’s clock tower

Echo to the streets of Walpole in a heavy shower

And as the hops hop at Magic Rock

And engineers at David Browns work around the clock

It’s a gentle nod that “round ere” we are all cut from the same cloth

A hardy bunch where hardy mums

Create successful daughters and sons

It is true, we brought to you

The first female Doctor Who

A Labour leader, the star of Star Trek

The poet laureate, pies in Denby

Dixons dairy, Mitre footballs, Orange amp prestige, Marstons chicken, rugby league, a record making football team

Jack Flash and Evile

The Sex Pistols last ever gig, going out in style

And as the sun sets on the shrine of the Pennines

And we drink the last of the summer wine

This is Merrie England

Ours not mine

The next Ink Spill Poetry meeting at the Head of Steam will be on Friday, June 21, at 7pm. More information on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/InkSpillPoetry

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting. 

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