Young poets pick up prizes in competition

The winners and runners-up of the EDP and Briar Chemicals Young Poets of the Year competition with f

The winners and runners-up of the EDP and Briar Chemicals Young Poets of the Year competition with first stage judge, Tom Blofeld. Front are the winners, Thomas Murphy, 11, and Rachael Poll, 9. Back, Nicole Phillips, 11; Elle Heald, 8; Harriet Knights, 8; Lily Talbot, 11; Jonathan Chaney Baxter, 11; and Eleanor Sparkes, 9. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

Talented wordsmiths picked up prizes for their poetry in a presentation at the Forum in Norwich.

Friendship was the theme of the ninth EDP and Briar Chemicals Young Poets of the Year competition, which was open to all schoolchildren aged eight to 11 in the EDP circulation area.

This year's contest attracted nearly 500 entries from schools around the region.

One school in west Norfolk had double cause for celebration after scooping the top spots in the two age categories.

Denver VC Primary School's Rachael Poll won the eight to nine-year-olds category and Thomas Murphy won the 10 to 11-year-olds section.


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Rachael won with her poem 'My Old Friend' about her dog, Bessie, an Alsatian cross who is nearly 15.

She said: 'I quite like poetry. It took quite a while to write my poem. It's all about our dog, Bessie. I love her so much.'

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Her teacher, Michael Bonham, said: 'We are very proud of her. Poetry really inspires children, who can express themselves through it.'

Rachael's grandmother, Victoria Poll, from Stow Bardolph, said Rachael was 'just passionate about reading'.

Thomas took the honours with his poem 'Brothers', and said: 'It was quite a surprise to win. I was given a £100 cheque and I'm going to buy a Warhammer game with it.' His poem was written about brother James, 12, who said: 'I thought it was quite good.'

Their father, Richard, added: 'I'm really proud of Tom. He writes short, sharp poems that are always full of emotion.'

The prizes were presented by Tom Blofeld, from Bewilderwood, who was one of the first stage judges alongside Simon Proctor, of the EDP, Prof Anne Osbourn, from the John Innes Centre and the founder of SAW (Science, Art and Writing), which breaks down traditional barriers between the arts and sciences, and Tim Green, site manager of Briar Chemicals.

Mr Blofeld told the audience at Fusion in the Forum: 'Poetry for me is about joy in the language, and the sound of the words. Some of these poems were very moving and full of passion.'

TV presenter Caroline Flack, who was brought up in Norfolk and was the final stage judge, was unable to attend the presentation.

Prizes donated by Briar Chemicals included £100 for the winner in each category and a total of £1,000 for the winning school.

In addition, BeWILDerwood donated prizes of family day passes for the two winners and book bundles.

Briar will also donate £500 to Quidenham Hospice, a charity chosen by Ms Flack.

Runners-up in the 10-11 age category were: Lily Talbot, from Saint Felix Prep Department, Jack Jones, from Taverham Junior School, Jonathan Chaney Baxter, from Stoke Holy Cross Primary School, and Nicole Phillips, from Wreningham VC Primary School.

Runners-up in the 8-9 category were Elle Heald, from Coltishall Primary School, Harriet Knights, from White Woman Lane School, Eleanor Sparkes, from Kinsale Junior School, and Oliver Graham, from North Walsham Junior School.

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