A RETIRED Keswick doctor has recorded his own version of a classic English poem to mark the end of a six-week, star studded project.

Dr Robert Strachan, 87, who lives in Portinscale, has recorded a special version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to celebrate the conclusion of the Big Read project.

Coleridge himself lived in Keswick from 1799 to 1804 at Greta Hall after being drawn to the Lakes by fellow poet William Wordsworth, who was born in Cockermouth.

He would become known as one of the Lakes Poets.

His epic poem, is a staple of English Literature studies in schools, colleges, and universities.

Dr Strachan's version was released last week as he and wife Muriel, who retired to the Lake District in the 1990s, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

He first learned lines from the poem from his father, George Strachan, a Scottish Peterhead trawler man who was tragically lost at sea in the 1940s.

But 10 years ago, when he was in his mid-seventies, he learned it all as a way of keeping his memory active.

He decided to do his own recital when he heard about the international project that had been taking place since mid-April.

This involved readings by 40 famous faces from stage, screen, music and the written word.

The stars include playwrights and poets Alan Bennett, Robert Macfarlane, Hilary Mantel, Lemn Sissay and the current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Actors taking part included Alan Cumming, Willem Dafoe, Rupert Everett, Jeremy Irons, Tilda Swinton, David Walliams, Samuel West and Jodie Whittaker.

Musicians included Marianne Faithfull, Beth Gibbons, David Gray, Cerys Matthews, Iggy Pop and Neil Tennant.

It also included a reading by one of the poets direct descendants, Samuel John Taylor Coleridge.

Each of the stars did a recital and now they have all been pooled into one 40-minute piece.

The Ancient Mariner Big Read website has been visited more than 1.5 million times by people as far afield as the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The project has been curated by author Philip Hoare, artist Angela Cockayne and Dr Sarah Chapman.

Author Philip Hoare, winner of the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, said: “These past 40 days have been a crazy adventure and it has been amazing to see how people have taken the project to their hearts.

"We have had amazing comments and feedback from both those involved and all sectors of society, writers, fishermen, scientists and members of the public. But from today, people will be able to see this extraordinary mosaic of voices, images and text in one piece which I believe gives the project a unique new and exciting dimension.”

According to organisers the work has messages for the natural world in the 21st Century.

For information on the project go to: ancientmarinerbigread.com