The Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has supported a project to reawaken public interest in an "unjustly neglected" literary genius from Carshalton.

James Farrar is regarded as the most authentic poetic voice to have emerged from the borough. But today a mention of his acclaimed verse brings only blank looks.

The airman was killed three months before his 21st birthday as he heroically tried to intercept a V1 flying bomb during World War II.

After his death in July 1944, Farrar's mum unearthed the remarkable collection of poems, short stories and journals he had penned since the age of 16.

They were later discovered by Henry Williamson, creator of Tarka the Otter, and published in an anthology - The Unreturning Spring.

A shorter edition, Spring Returning, followed in the 1980s and led to Farrar being hailed as one of the most precocious literary talents of the 20th century.

Seven of his poems were set to music and many versifiers derived inspiration from his work of "exceptional maturity and skill".

But Farrar, a former Sutton Grammar School pupil, suffered as greater attention was given to poets' vision of the Great War.

To rescue him from oblivion, a local author has adapted Farrar's works into a programme of dramatised readings entitled Stored Sunlight.

John Monks, with his daughter Shirin and amateur actor Will Harris, will be performing the readings at the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre in Carshalton on Tuesday evening.

The production is part of the Friends of Honeywood's attempts to preserve heritage in the borough. It has been endorsed by Mr Motion, who describes Farrar as a "fascinating and unjustly neglected figure".

Mr Monks said: "Today Farrar is all but forgotten, and nowhere more so than in the borough where he lived.

"Stored Sunlight is the rediscovery of one of our major local talents - the authentic voice of a generation of writers who died young in war but receive far less appreciation than those of World War 1."

Farrar's letters and notes will also be unveiled for a unique exhibition at Honeywood heritage centre in Carshalton, from Saturday to November 19.

Book Stored Sunlight tickets on 0208 770 6990.

Farrar wrote the following poem, aged 16, watching aerial dogfights over Woodcote during the Battle of Britain.

September 1940

I walk endlessly, no clock drips by the hours,
The burnished hedgerows, clotted and high,
The still woods, the dead meadows, the closed flowers,
Shrunken under that bright scarred sky.

A light-play, as of sun on August leaves,
A height-soft moan, a wooden intermittent rattle,
And, as the scrollèd conflict eastward weaves,
Feelers drooping darkly out of battle.

They come slowly, soft tap-roots questing down,
At the groping tip of one glisters a bead of light:
I see them, like waterflies struggling not to drown,
Soundlessly pass into earth, and meet night.