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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 September 2006, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Poetic justice at last for Slough
John Betjeman
Ms Lycett-Green said her father was sorry for writing Slough
The writer of a poem which forever doomed Slough to ridicule and infamy never meant for it to be published, his daughter has revealed.

Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman savaged the town in verse, writing: "Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough, it isn't fit for humans now".

But on a visit to mark the 100th anniversary of the poet's birth his daughter apologised for the poem.

Candida Lycett-Green said her father "regretted having ever written it".

During her visit, Ms Lycett-Green presented Mayor of Slough David MacIsaac with a book of her father's poems.

It is hoped the town can shrug off its image problems

In it was written: "We love Slough. For the Mayor of Slough love from Candida Lycett Green, whose dad wanted to stop his poem going into a book because he regretted having ever written it."

Mr MacIsaac said: "It was absolutely wonderful when I opened up the book and read Candida's message.

"After all these years of everyone thinking Sir John went to his grave hating Slough, we now know it simply wasn't true, and we have proof."

The council hopes the apology will finally allow the town to shrug off its image problems.

Betjeman's 1937 poem was the first blow to the town's reputation, but things were made worse when Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant chose to set their hit BBC comedy The Office on the Slough Trading Estate.

In the first series, Gervais' character David Brent even reads out Betjeman's poem.

Slough council points out that - contrary to its grey image - the town has 42 parks and open spaces plus an ice skating arena where Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean once trained.

Mars Bars are made there, Thunderbirds was filmed there, and the Beatles began their British tour there in 1963.

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