Picture gallery: Competition delight for young Norfolk poets

There was a strong element of fate for one of the winners of this year's EDP/Bayer CropScience Young Poets of the Year competition.

Daisy Rolph, from Holverston near Rockland St Mary, collected her prize as the winner of the 10-11 age category on her 11th birthday – the same day as National Poetry Day.

Daisy, of Norwich High School for Girls, was among a group of youngsters being rewarded for their blossoming poetry skills at the Forum, in Norwich, yesterday as part of the Young Poets of the Year presentation.

It is the seventh year of the competition, organised by the EDP and Bayer CropScience, and renowned author Louis de Berni�res – author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin – was the final stage judge.

This year's theme was Wildlife and it attracted almost 500 entries via the children's schools.

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The Fusion digital auditorium at The Forum hosted children, parents and teachers as prizes were given out to winners and runners-up. The children's poems were projected onto big screens and read out by the poets, with Mr de Bernieres giving his thoughts on the poems.

Daisy's Norfolk Barn Owl poem took pride of place in the 10-11 age category, with Mr de Berni�res saying: 'It reminds me of the kind of poem one would have read a hundred years ago, but with bold lines such as 'talons rapier ready claws' which are not grammatical but make good poetic sense.'

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It was a memorable day for Daisy's mum, Susannah, who said: 'I'm very proud of her, I think it's fantastic. The school entered her and we had no idea until we heard that she had won. We live in the countryside so I think she was inspired by that, and funnily enough, a barn owl had flown in front of our car a few days before she wrote the poem.'

Alongside Daisy, Mr de Berni�res chose Kinsale Junior School's Lucy Brock as the 8-9 age category winner, for her poem Silverlake. He described the poem as: 'Very atmospheric and observant, and she conveyed very well the feelings of the little boy captivated by the beautiful swan.'

Lucy's mum, Dawn, from Horsford, was pleased her daughter's commitment had paid off, going to extra literature studies after school. 'She's not 10 until March but her reading is fantastic and she loves her literature. She's read all the Roald Dahl books and just loves reading and writing.'

The runners-up also got the chance to read their poems and collect their certificates. In the 8-9 age category there was Matthew Gamble, from All Saints School in Winfarthing, with The Cannonballing Cats; Harry Delf, from Hapton VCP School, with his It's Springtime; Izadora Hole-Jones, from Stalham Junior, with The Morning Songs; and Stalham Junior's Darcey Burdett with What Makes My Heart Sing.

In the 10-11 age category the runners-up were: Abigail Redcar, from Denver VC Primary, with A Wild Tree; Joseph Brighty, from Corton School, with The Fox; Norwich High School for Girls' Isobel Holroyd with Worm; and an untitled poem about the four seasons from Ben Eagling, of All Saints School in Winfarthing.

Mr de Berni�res was presented with a �500 cheque from Bayer CropScience for the charity Families Need Fathers, of which he is a patron.

Bayer also donated prizes of �100 to the winner in each age category and �500 for the winning schools.

BeWILDerwood, the woodland adventure park at Hoveton, near Wroxham, also donated prizes of passes, books and an interactive storytelling workshop at the classroom of the winner of each age group.

The first stage judges of the competition were Simon Proctor (Archant Norfolk, which publishes the EDP), Prof Anne Osbourn (of the John Innes Centre and founder of SAW, which aims to break down barriers between science and the arts), Lisa Tekell (Bayer CropScience) and Tom Blofeld, of BeWILDerwood.

Mr de Berni�res said: 'I enjoyed reading all these poems and was very impressed by the care that everyone took with their presentation. These children have found new ways of saying old things, which is partially what poetry is all about.

'It was a little humbling sometimes to read lines written by little children that I couldn't have come up with myself.'


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