Poet Pip Youngman's words immortalised at river park in Taunton
He was a poet, an inventor and great champion of his adopted home town, and now Pip Youngman’s words hang in the air in a new riverside park created in his memory.
Pip’s Park is part of Taunton’s £270 million Firepool development scheme beside the river Tone, part of Project Taunton regeneration, and it includes a glass sculpture engraved with one of Mr Youngman’s poems.
The park forms the central communal area of the scheme, created by developer St Modwen in partnership with Taunton Deane County Borough Council. It was unveiled yesterday with Mr Youngman’s wife Alison and daughter Suzy joining the ceremony.
Its highlight is the glass feature, made by Taunton glass-maker Will Shakspeare.
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Mr Youngman’s career was eclectic to say the least; as a young man he tried his hand at all sorts of jobs including being a shoe-shine boy. In the Second World War, he served in the 48th Royal Tank Regiment.
After the war ended he was active in a peace movement called The Crusade for World Government. Supporters included Bertrand Russell, Yehudi Menuhin and a very young Shirley Williams.
Mrs Youngman said: “He loved Lego. When he was living in Soho in the 1960s, he rather rashly told someone that you could make anything from Lego. They challenged him to make a computer. So he did, and it became the basis for one of the Open University’s first home experiment kits.”
He also inspired the space walk along the Bridgwater-Taunton Canal, which represents the solar system built to a 1:530,000,000 scale.
He was a staunch supporter of Project Taunton and the plans to regenerate and revitalise the town centre, bringing the river and waterways back into focus.
Pete Davies, development manager for St Modwen in the South West, said: “The Riverside Park, which is already being used by more than 110 members of staff working at Viridor House, will become a new recreational area, where people can sit, relax and enjoy the waterside area of the scheme, and is a fitting place in which to commemorate Pip Youngman.”