Photo gallery and videos: Talented young writers honoured at EDP and Bayer CropScience Young Poets of the Year competition
A bizarre and quirky land inspired by pasta and an owl's enchanting moonlit realm – these were the two very different magical worlds created by the young champions of a competition celebrating the work of pupil wordsmiths.
Schoolboys Jude Lince and Finn Will scooped the top accolades in this year's EDP and Bayer CropScience Young Poets of the Year competition, and yesterday, on National Poetry Day, the two boys and the runners-up received their prizes and read their poems at a special presentation at Fusion in The Forum, in Norwich.
It is the eighth year the competition has been held, and this year more than 400 writers aged eight to 11 took up the challenge to write a poem with the theme Escape to a Magical World.
Children's author Tom Blofeld, of the BeWILDerwood adventure park near Wroxham, was the final stage judge of this year's competition. He said the overall standard of entries was very high, with many magical worlds created full of fairies, dragons, pixies and more, and he said when judging the competition it was a joy to spend time in the minds of such talented children.
Nine-year-old Jude, who goes to Colman Junior School in Norwich, won the 8-9 age category with his poem Italian Adventures, where a youngster's meal of spaghetti transports him into a strange pasta-filled land with a river of formaggio sauce and a volcano made of ravioli.
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Mr Blofeld said the comic poem 'stood out far above the others in its year,' and that he loved its depth of description and the idea that 'ordinary daydreams can take us to magical places.'
Jude, whose favourite authors include Roald Dahl, said: 'It just popped into my mind. It is about a world of pasta except it is sort of a daydream. I just like writing. It is good fun.'
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Jude's mum Karen Lince said: 'We are incredibly proud of Jude and impressed with the imagination in his poem. I think it is amazing.'
In the 10-11 age group Finn Will, a 10-year-old pupil at Stalham Junior School, won with his untitled poem about an owl 'haunting, hooting, hunting' in a 'milky moonlight' world.
Mr Blofeld described it as a 'tale of high fantasy' and said 'its mysterious elfin tone could have come straight from the libraries of Tolkein's Middle Earth.'
About his poem, Finn said: 'We usually go on long walks and see lots of nature and owls and that sort of thing, and I like Harry Potter and books like that, and that is what gave me my inspiration as well as a visit to an owl sanctuary.'
Finn's dad Tim Will said he thought the competition was a great way of inspiring young people to enjoy writing.
He said: 'Finn really enjoyed taking part, especially with the theme magical world, and it is nice that he can see that by knuckling down, a bit of hard work and using his imagination he can do well. I could not be more proud.'
Mr Blofeld also gave special praise to Mitchell Kingsmill, from St Nicholas House School, North Walsham, for his poem My Magical World of Dreams, which was a runner-up in the 10-11 age category.
The other 10-11 age category runners-up were: Holly Salmon, from Wreningham Primary School, with Holly's World; Flora Norton, from Norwich High School for Girls, with Granddad's Meadow; and Alfie Gadd, from Stoke Holy Cross, with Eternally Alone.
The 8-9 age category runners-up were: Ethan Slater, from Stalham Junior School, with In the World of Ethan; Freya Childs, from Stalham Junior School, with An Imaginary Story Sweet Land; Samuel Fisher, from Peckover Primary School, with A Magical World; Thomas Gotts, from Ludham Primary School, with Poem.
The winners and runners-up received prizes that were donated by Bayer CropScience and BeWILDerwood, and the two winners' schools, Stalham Junior School and Colman Junior School, also received �500 each.
Bayer also donated �500 to Autism Anglia, a good cause chosen by Mr Blofeld.
Since the launch of the competition, Bayer CropScience in Norwich has changed hands. The site officially became Briar Chemicals Ltd on September 1.
See the two winning young writers read their poems by clicking on the links of the top right corner of this story.