WHEN Colin Trenholme and Julie Boldy retired from full-time teaching in 2008 they formed a partnership and became ‘Moving Words’.

Colin had always written performance poetry; one of his groups of pupils performed for Nelson Mandela when he visited Leeds in 2001. And Julie ran Creative Dance groups at primary schools where she taught.

One of their most memorable performances was at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of Millennium Celebrations in 2000. For many years both Colin and Julie were involved in acting and directing at Bradford Playhouse and Calverley Players so they had vast experience to draw upon.

From 2008-2020 they delivered creative workshops in primary schools, mostly in Bradford and Leeds but also as far as Preston, Bolton and Whitley Bay. Their workshops covered a range of topics from history: Greeks, Vikings, Victorians...to well-known books and authors.

If a school asked them to create a day, even maths or science based, they’d deliver facts in a fun set of workshops, always involving Colin’s specially written performance poetry and Julie’s creative dance, as well as story-telling, drama and song. Colin had a unique ability to reach the most challenging children. His quirky, cheeky sense of humour made children and school staff warm to him.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Colin's cheeky sense of humour appealed to schoolchildren and staffColin's cheeky sense of humour appealed to schoolchildren and staff (Image: Julie Boldy)

In 2012, during the London Olympics, Colin wrote a 45-minute play based on trying to achieve sporting excellence and the challenges facing athletes attempting to reach the top of their game. A young man called Adam Drinkall became involved with Moving Words. Colin had taught Adam at Idle theatre school Stage 84 and, as Adam was also a talented gymnast, Colin wrote a play about a young gymnast. The team of three toured the play in schools in 2012.

Adam now has a first class degree in Drama with Aerial Performance and teaches at Stocks Lane Primary School in Clayton Heights.

Colin and Julie came out of their post-Covid ‘retirement’ when Adam asked them to kickstart his Volcanoes and Earthquakes topic with a Moving Words workshop. More workshops were planned with Stocks Lane Primary School but had to be abandoned when Colin was diagnosed with a brain tumour in March 2022.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Colin, left, with Adam Drinkall and Julie Colin, left, with Adam Drinkall and Julie (Image: Julie Boldy)

In April this year Colin insisted that Moving Words should deliver a final set of workshops, themed around Black History Month. His radiotherapy, followed by chemotherapy had slightly shrunk his brain tumour (which he called Brian) and he and Julie visited Lucy Neal, headteacher at Stocks Lane Primary School, and agreed that four mornings of workshops, for all classes, would be delivered in October. Performance poems about key figures such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jnr and Mary Seacole would be taught as well as a poem called We’re Looking For a New Life based on Floella Benjamin’s Windrush experiences.

Black History Month was one of Colin and Julie’s favourite and busiest times of year and they developed extensive material.

Sadly, on August 31, Colin passed away. Hundreds of people attended his funeral, paying tribute to a wonderful teacher and writer and a true friend to many. The Black History Month workshops will fulfil one of his last wishes; to raise money for the Brain Tumour Research Charity.