R.I.P. Daphne Peters

We were very sorry to announce the sudden loss on 6th April of our founder, Daphne Peters, best known for the many children’s poems that were published under her maiden name of Lister and continue to be in demand internationally. You will find two such, chosen by her husband Joe and featured with his permission, at the end of this post.

Together with Joe, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy, Daphne remained an active member of the Group until shortly before she passed away. Our thoughts remain with Joe at this difficult time.

Tributes from present and former members of Ripon Writers’ Group

I cannot recall my time with Ripon Writers without remembering Daphne, and her endearing encouragement she gave to me. I have fond memories too of our friendship outside the group, and a great loss with passing.
Malc B Glasby

Daphne was always so kind, friendly and encouraging. A key member of the group she founded all those years ago. She will be sorely missed.
Lindsay Trenholme

Daphne always made me feel very welcome to the group. She showed such interest in what I wrote and loved to discuss my work with me during the break. This gave me great encouragement and made me feel I had written something worthwhile. She was an incredibly valuable member of RWG and will be sorely missed.
Claire Cox

Before I even met her I knew in what high regard Daphne was held by the Group when I joined it 26 years ago. A serious accident had prevented her from attending meetings, and the way members spoke of her told me how much she was admired and missed. I found out why as soon as she returned because the warmth of her welcome and the genuine interest she took in my early writing efforts. As President she led the way in providing the encouragement and positive help that was the Group’s hallmark.
Val and I soon struck up a special friendship with Daphne and Joe, which we enjoyed and valued through the years. We met up when we could for a meal and perhaps glass or two, and felt honoured to be included in Daphne and Joe’s Golden Wedding celebrations. We were looking forward to another get-together when the Covid19 lockdown was imposed, so sadly it was not to be.
We shall treasure fond memories of Daphne, her kindness, her real concern for all those around her. I received a thorough scolding for not letting her know when I was struck down for a few weeks, because she would have wanted to help in any way she could. On the other hand she was totally undemanding for herself and would never have wanted to trouble others for help. And remarkably in this day and age, she never had a bad word to say about anybody.
Daphne was a truly lovely lady, whom it was a privilege to have known.
Phil Cook

I first met Daphne in the Eighties in RWG and remember how friendly and welcoming she was. She showed such commitment to the group from its foundation and her comments on work presented were so encouraging, especially to new members. I shall never forget her warm presence, her poems and her great sense of humour. No wonder the group flourished.
Gill Michell

It wasn’t until I’d been a member of Ripon Writers for a year or so that Daphne happened to mention that she published her work under the name of Lister rather than Peters. That was quite a revelation for me, because it was with great delight that I realised I’d already ‘met’ her years before.
I’d taken a break from working in special education to take on the running of a remote, single-teacher school in Argyll. Looking through the resources, I discovered a pamphlet from a children’s radio programme, and in it was a lyrical poem about kites that had been set to a lilting, slightly melancholy tune. I taught it to the children, and it became one of our favourites, especially on windy days. You will have guessed that its author was Daphne Lister.
Daphne’s care for and interest in others seemed to shine through everything she said and did, and it made her dear to me and so many other people. The last time I spoke to her, she told me about her excitement at seeing all the daffodils on a recent visit to Rydale. Whenever I think about her now, I remember her enthusiasm, her ability to make the most ordinary things a source of joy. What a legacy to leave us, Daphne – I’ll be sure to pass it on.
Sheila Whitfield

When I joined Ripon Writers in January 2000, Daphne and Joe were so welcoming, they made me instantly feel at home. Since then I have always valued their friendship and the interest they showed in my writing, especially poetry. Daphne’s own poems were delightful and are still used in schools all around the world. When the question “Any acceptances?” came up in meetings, Daphne quite often modestly admitted that she was still receiving royalties for recent re-publications. When she was persuaded to read some of her poems to the group, we realised why they proved so popular. Some were funny, clever and entertaining, others lyrical and reflective. Daphne, I will miss you, as a person and as a wonderful writer.
Carol Mayer

Daphne was always interested to hear what the rest of us had been working on and unstinting in her encouragement. I loved to hear her reading her own poems, whether comical or whimsical, in her own inimitable style and will miss that very much. Ripon Writers’ Group will never be quite the same without Daphne, but I know that she will be counting on us to continue what she started all those years ago.
Maggie Cobbett

Two of Daphne’s poems, selected by Joe

The Sea’s Treasures

In swept the sea
With a swirl and a swish.
It shimmered and whispered,
‘Choose what you wish.’

And the sea showed the treasures
At the edge of the shore,
Shining bright pebbles
And shells by the score.

Long ribbons of seaweed
That showed gold and red.
‘I’ll share them, I’ll share,’
The sea softly said.

Friday Night in Finkle Street

On Friday night in Finkle Street,
When the fish shops start to fry,
Cats come out from all about
And lurk in the shadows nearby.

‘Fish, fish, our favourite dish,’
You can hear them softly sigh.

In Finkle Street on Friday night,
Lots of people come to eat,
They lick their lips over fish and chips
As they wander down the street.

‘Fish, fish, our favourite dish,’
Cry the cats, ‘Please leave us a treat.’

On Friday night in Finkle Street,
When the chimes of midnight ring,
A feast begins in the litter-bins
That the cats think fit for a king.

‘Fish, fish, our favourite dish,’
You can hear them loudly sing.

Our friendly group meets once a fortnight at the St Wilfred's Community Centre on Trinity Lane and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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