A DIALECT poet who speaks in traditional Northumberland verse is looking forward to finding his voice again.

Hexham’s Nick Short has been a familiar face at prestigious events for decades, including the Hexham Gathering and the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering.

Dressed in his trademark Northumbrian shepherd’s plaid, which he inherited from his father, Nick is used to standing up and reading aloud in front of a crowd.

But the multiple award winner, who turned 85 last September, has had no platform upon which to inform and entertain in his usual manner over the past year.

Like many other activities, the coronavirus pandemic has put paid to Nick’s annual engagements.

However, the veteran poet, crowned the Bard of Northumberland in Previous years, has plans to write new material in 2021.

“It has been a very strange year,” said Nick. “I’ve had a bit of writer’s block because things have been so quiet. I’ve missed my friends and everything that I would usually do, but I’ve no doubt that I’ll get something written.”

A long-term cyclist, Nick has also revealed another ambition which was curtailed during 2020.

“I fancied catching a bus to Kielder with my bike on board,” he said. “I’d love to cycle around there and visit some of the historic and picturesque sites.

“I don’t think I’d be allowed on the bus with my bike these days, but maybe after Covid I’ll get a lift there with someone.

“I’ve cycled part of the reservoir in the past. I once cycled from Kielder to Newcastleton to attend a dialect poetry competition.”

Four years ago, Nick was recognised for his dedication over 25 years to raising funds for armed service charities when he was awarded a Hexham Community Champion Award.

The awards, handed out by Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman, recognises extraordinary charitable, community, educational, business and sporting achievements throughout the Hexham and Ponteland constituency.

Nick was recognised after collecting money for the RAF Wings Appeal, which supports serving and former RAF personnel and their families, and the Royal British Legion, over the decades. He was invited to attend an annual event at the House of Commons.