Watch: 91-year-old woman's stirring poem 'Wake Up Britain'

Joyce Miller

Dereham resident Joyce Miller gave an emotional reading of her poem in a video filmed by Breckland District Council - Credit: Breckland District Council

As the country emerges from its final Covid restrictions, a 91-year-old Dereham woman has given an emotional reading of a poem she has written about the need for Britain to “wake up”. 

Joyce Miller’s reading of her poem, ‘Wake up, Britain’, has been filmed and shared by Breckland District Council.

The older woman, who has lived in the town for four years, said she wrote the poem as an endnote to a self-published memoir of her life she had written, called Yesterday’s Child. 

Mrs Miller said the poem was about the need for Britain to rediscover itself as a nation by taking greater pride in its town centres, becoming a more equal country, caring for the elderly and supporting the vulnerable. 

“Something’s gone wrong, whether we like it or not,” said Mrs Miller. 


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“I talk to a lot of people and they feel the same. It [the poem] has definitely given them a lift.”

She added that she hoped the poem could eventually be set to music to become a song. 

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“I wrote it as a song, but I can’t put it to music [myself], so if I knew someone who could do it, I would want that,” she said. 

The poem has been given excellent feedback by the people who have heard it.

“The people I’ve read it to say that it’s spot on,” said Mrs Miller.

“Two have told me it could be Dereham’s new national anthem.”

Mrs Miller explained that she had always had a love of writing, and won a prize for her poetry at the age of 13.

“I’m 91 and I would like to leave this as a legacy, I don’t want it to go down the drain,” she said.

Her poem reads:

Wake up Britain, stir the world,
You’ve been asleep too long.
Once you were a nation proud,
Now something has gone wrong.

Wake up Britain, wave the flag,
With pride for all to see.
Light the flame within our hearts,
Come out of poverty.

Wake up Britain, shout 'Hooray!', 
Equality for rich or poor.
Beat the drums, sound the horn,
Britain will be greater than before.

Let us dance together, 
Let us raise our hand,
Proclaiming these words
Throughout the land.

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