Poet in Residence Commissioned to write for International Day of Families & National Children`s Day UK

The Poet in Residence of Wolverhampton`s radio station, WCR FM, has been commissioned to write  for National Children`s Day UK  and the International Day of Families.

National Children`s Day UK falls on 14th May and International Day of Families is on 15th May 2023.

“National Children`s Day is all about the importance of a healthy childhood and protecting the rights and freedoms of children so that they can grow into happy, healthy adults” explained Ian Henery, Poet in Residence of WCR FM, which broadcasts online and on 101.8 FM.

National Children`s Day is a day of celebration, with lots of activities planned across Wolverhampton and surrounding regions.  It`s also a great opportunity for anyone involved with children to raise awareness and funds for the projects they are running or the things they care about.

The aim of National Children`s Day UK is to get as many people as possible to create events and activities that highlight the importance of healthy, happy childhoods and celebrate all the great work that is going on nationwide to support child and family wellbeing and champion children`s participation.

“International Day of Families is a UN designated day to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic process affecting families” explained Ian Henery.

“International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilise political will and resources to address global problems and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.  The UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool”.

The theme of this year`s International Day of Families is demographic trends amidst rising concerns about the prospect of sustainable urbanisation and management of climate change.  Demographic change is one of the most important megatrends impacting our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide.  They are shaped by fertility and mortality patterns which, in turn, impact on children`s health and education, poverty reduction and better socio-economic development.

Ian Henery`s life was shaped by China`s one child policy, a program that limited  Chinese families to one child each.  It was implemented nationwide by the Chinese government in 1980 and ended in 2016.  The policy was enacted to address the growth rate of China`s population which the government viewed as being too rapid.

“The fact of the matter was that 4 million baby girls were abandoned each year and quite simply left to die” said Ian Henery.  “My wife – whom I met studying law at Wolverhampton University – was an overseas student from Malaysia of Chinese heritage.  She felt passionate about China`s one child policy and when we got married we went to China to adopt a baby girl.  Our daughter is due to graduate from Cardiff University in banking and we are very proud of her.  We do not share the same DNA and she is 100% Chinese heritage but she is my daughter regardless and I love her unconditionally.  The poem this year is for Emily.”

The poem was originally published by The Kates Hill Press in “Poems of Hope” and launched online during the COVID pandemic at Wolverhampton Art Gallery during the 2020 Wolverhampton Literature Festival.  The online performance by Ian Henery was then streamed nationally for charity by the Teenage Cancer Trust.  The poem was selected by Worcestershire Poet Laurerate Rhianna Levi for inclusion in the anthology “Life`s Wonders” and launched online in April 2023 and published by Black pear Press.  For every copy of this anthology sold a donation will be made to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Charity who, in turn, invest it into Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.  It`s a fitting alignment with the NHS turning 75 years old in 2023.

 Emily’s Poem

  Six birthday candles


A child’s smile

And laughing face

On this special day.


Linked together

With red thread,

Our destiny

You and I, Into eternity.


You are Chinese

And I  Vegetarian,

Daughter and father

Sharing a bond

Cascading into infinity.


Happy birthday,

Little girl.

You are beautiful,


And I am so lucky

To be your Dad.


Ian Henery