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Eavesdrop on candid conversations - Listening Tree project launch

They talk to the trees... and they listen to them. And Boston's Listening Tree project will let you in on the conversations.

The first three recorded conversations about Boston, the borough and life here, past, present and future, are now available at the Boston Listening Tree You Tube channel.

The project is the brainchild of Boston mum and entrepreneur Victoria Percival, who stood as Green Party candidate in the last General Election.

An awareness of so much negativity about Boston led to her deciding to redress the balance with frank conversations with residents from the area.

She said: "I love the Oral History project, listening to how life used to be from the people who lived it, listening to their accents, hearing people laugh at past events and of course their sadness when touched by tragedy; you can hear the full roller-coaster of life in their stories.

"I started Boston's Listening Tree after a gathering put on by the Quakers. They arranged an event to bring people of all nationalities together in Boston. We sat down over cake and tea and shared our cultural experiences. It was so lovely to hear why people came to Boston, their experiences of work and people. I thought how wonderful it would be to have little videos of people's stories.

"So I started interviewing people from Boston and those new to Boston. Their stories have me gripped.

"The Boston-born people I have spoken to talked about the excitement of the Gliderdrome, how every teen boy wanted to learn the guitar but it was not considered a 'proper' instrument and they should learn the piano instead. They talked about outside loos, baths in front of the fire, walking miles to school.

"For me Boston is full of amazing people. I think it's important to have an oral and visual document of Boston from the past up to the here and now.

"I see this project as a chance for Bostonians old and new to tell in their own words their life experiences, so others can watch, listen, understand and possibly learn a little more about what it is really like to live in Boston; rather than the many reports we keep seeing, which many feel are wrong and don't show the correct picture of Boston at all."

The first three to go live include Boston Mayor Cllr Richard Austin, Cllr Paul Gleeson and Emma, who grew up in Swineshead and Kirton.

A recurring theme is the desire for people to recognise the positives and help to make Boston a better place to live. Cllr Gleeson urges residents to take ownership and work together, saying: " "It's not the council's town - it's your town."

Emma speaks about the simple innocence of growing up in a rural community,  playing out with other children and enjoying being at school there with "inspirational teachers". She questions whether children today grow up too quickly and asks what happened to childhood? She speaks passionately about how she loves living in Boston among beautiful architecture and always with something to do, but says she thinks it needs "a haircut and a manicure".

Cllr Austin says he believes that, despite its challenges, Boston borough is still a great place to be.

Victoria video interviewed the Mayor in the Mayor's Parlour at Municipal Buildings, asking him what Boston meant to him and how he would like to see it in the future.

Listening Tree Project Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Victoria Percival of Boston's Listening Tree interviews Boston Mayor Cllr Richard Austin

The Mayor warmed to the theme of his year in office - Boston's great past and a bright future - and suggested residents should ask themselves not what Boston could do for them, but what they could do for Boston.

He spoke about austerity measures and how they may impact community services, and how now is the time for volunteers and those who are community spirited to step forwards.

Victoria also got him to speak about his early years in Boston, how he came to settle here in the first place and the reasons why he has stayed.

Victoria said: "I grew up in Boston, left and came back and didn't like the negativity. If there is no challenge then inaccurate comments become established as fact. I wanted to provide an opportunity for some more positive comment about the town and borough from those who enjoy living and working here."

Eavesdrop on the conversations at Boston's Listening Tree

If you feel your story about Boston is worth telling contact Victoria on 07956 368 057 or email bostonlisteningtree@outlook.com