Back from the lighthouse


I spent four days this week in Orford, Suffolk, helping children from Orford and Aldeburgh Primary Schools to perform songs they had composed for a concert to celebrate the lighthouse. The lighthouse is now decommissioned and threatened by rising seas (exacerbated by climate change) because it is so close to the sea and on a shifting shingle spit. The community bought it and are shoring up the bank to maintain its presence, and to tell its stories, for as long as possible. The celebratory concert and an exhibition were part of the Touching the Tide project, funded by HLF. I worked with Liz Ferretti and Jason Rowlands to involve the children in the concert. They learned about the history and geography of the lighthouse, did lots of creative writing work to come up with lyrics to three songs. Jason, the music leader for the project, got them to develop some melodies and sound effects, then arranged their songs. They performed alongside professional musicians and three composers, in a range of classical and new pieces about the sea and the lighthouse.

You can read more about the Lighthouse Songs project here. You can see my photos from visits to Orford here. There are lots of photos of Orfordness, a fascinating place. Part of my fascination is that my great grandfather was coastguard here and it is part of our family story.

This last visit seemed to yield so many poignant images. For example, Orford church was where Benjamin Britten first staged Noye’s Fludde, which echoed the 1953 floods. One of our Lighthouse Songs was about these floods. There is a sculpture in the church to commemorate Noye’s Fludde, the sending out of the dove.


After the concert I spotted this, a white dove, next to the shadow of the WW1 memorial cast onto the porch.


Then the next day, going over to the ness, police and forensic services gathered because a body had been found, possibly that of a refugee who jumped off a ferry at Harwich.


Inside the lighthouse, I took some photos of what was left after the removal of the optics.



4 responses to “Back from the lighthouse

  1. Yes, lots! We used to camp every summer in Aldeburgh, my dad’s from there, and now have got to know plenty of people in Orford, where my grandma and aunty grew up.

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