In 2012, Forever Manchester commissioned local poet Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) to create a poem to encapsulate the spirit of Greater Manchester, to celebrate our local communities and help explain what Forever Manchester does. In 2011 we decided to change our name from the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester to Forever Manchester, so the commission of poem was very much part of the rebranding process to help us reach a wider audience.

Tony performed the poem at a number of Forever Manchester events, and with the help of local creative agency Studio North, visuals were added to a shortened version of the poem and published on YouTube (see above).

Since writing ‘This Is The Place’, Tony has written a number of follow-up poems for Forever Manchester, which he has performed at numerous Forever Manchester events, including our annual Birthday Bash, where he received standing ovations on every occasion.

Less than 24 hours following the terror attack on Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017, Tony Walsh performed the ‘This is The Place’ poem at the vigil at Manchester Town Hall, in front of thousands of people gathered in Albert Square and millions of people across the world on TV.

 

THIS IS THE PLACE (full version)
written and performed by Tony Walsh for Forever Manchester

 

This is the place in the North West of England

It’s ace, it’s the best and the songs that we sing

From the stands, from our bands set the whole planet shaking

Our inventions are legends! There’s nowt we can’t make and

 

So we make brilliant music. We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel and we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten

 

And we make you at home and we make you feel welcome

And we make summat happen, we can’t seem to help it

And if you’re looking for history then yes, we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself

 

And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love. Go on!

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe it

 

that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And that this the place where a Manchester girl

Name of Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side

Led a Suffragette City with sisterhood pride

 

And this is the place with appliance of science

We’re on it, atomic, we strut with defiance

In the face of a challenge we always stand tall

Mancunians in union delivered it all

 

Such as housing and libraries, and health, education

And unions and co-ops, the first railway station

So we’re sorry! Bear with us! We invented commuters!

But we hope you forgive us – we invented computers!

 

And this is the place Henry Royce strolled with Rolls

And we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own Northern Soul

And so this is the place to do business, then dance

Where go-getters and goal setters know they’ve a chance

 

And this is the place where we first played as kids

And me Mam lived and died here, she loved it she did

And this is the place where our folks came to work

Where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt

 

And they built us a city. They built us these towns

And they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound

Of the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves

They were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves

 

And they left us a spirit, they left us a vibe

The Mancunian Way to survive and to thrive

And to work and to build, to connect and create and

Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great

 

And so this is the place now we’ve kids of our own

Some are born here, some drawn here but we all call it home

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat

All the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets

 

Because this is a place that has been through some hard times

Oppressions, recessions, depressions and dark times

But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit

Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics

 

And there’s hard times again in these streets of our city

But we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity

Because this a place where we stand strong together

With a smile on our face, Mancunians Forever

 

And we’ve got this* as the place where a team with a dream (*Forever Manchester)

Can get funding and something to help with their scheme

Because this is the place that understands your grand plans

We don’t do No Can Do, we just stress Yes We Can!

 

Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round ‘ere

You can fundraise, donate. You can be a volunteer

You can live local, give local. We can honestly say

We do charity differently, that Mancunian Way

 

And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams

We support local dreamers to work for their dreams

We support local groups and the great work they do

So can you …help us help… local people like you?

 

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes

Because this is the place that’s a part of our bones

‘Cos Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact

That this is the place. We should give something back.

Always remember. Never forget.  Forever Manchester.