Hartlepool poetry champ urges other youngsters to enter contest

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A Hartlepool schoolgirl has urged youngsters to enter a poetry competition she won a year ago after enjoying an “amazing experience” reading her work to hundreds of people in Durham Cathedral.

Olivia Williams, of St Hild’s C of E School, in King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, had her poem The Eternal Day featured in the annual Festival of Remembrance.

It was such an honour to be chosen to read my poem in front of so many people in such a wonderful place like Durham Cathedral

Olivia Williams

Olivia was delighted to have her poem featured after winning the free-to-enter poetry competition, which is open to any child in Key Stages 2 or 3 at a school in the Diocese of Durham area.

She said: “My poem was about the last moments of a soldier’s life in the trenches, and it was such an honour to be chosen to read it in front of so many people in such a wonderful place like Durham Cathedral.

“It was so interesting learning about the war at school, and writing the poems helped us all really think about the emotions of those kinds of situations.

“I would encourage anyone in year five or six to have a go themselves at writing a poem this year. It’s fun to do, you learn something about our history and if you win it’s an amazing experience reading it as part of the Festival of Remembrance.”

The theme for this year’s entries is The Return, and as well as the winner having their poem read out at the festival, other highly commended poems will be featured in a booklet handed out during the concert.

Charlotte Rowbotham, head of education at Durham Cathedral, said: “The title The Return is a general guide, but we’re offering the option of children thinking about how they would feel returning from war themselves, or to imagine that they are waiting for a relative to return.”