Poets take contest’s judges by surprise

A TOUGH TASK: Competition judges (right to left) Chris Cordner, Clare Irvine and David Worthington
A TOUGH TASK: Competition judges (right to left) Chris Cordner, Clare Irvine and David Worthington

THIRTY five poets have astounded the judges of a Hartlepool Mail-backed competition with their talents.

We asked for students across the town to enter a poetry contest based on the Bombardment of Hartlepool, to mark the 100th anniversary of the town’s darkest day when more than 100 people died under German shelling.

The response was outstanding with children aged from six to 18 all gracing us with their contributions.

Judges met to go through all 35 entries and the winners will be revealed soon. But in the meantime, each of the panel had nothing but praise for everyone who took part.

The Hartlepool Mail teamed up with Hartlepool Borough Council to launch the competition which asked children to compose their own tribute to the victims of the Bombardment.

David Worthington, the council’s head of culture and information, said: “We had an amazing response to the contest and the quality of the entries was really high.

“It has been a very difficult job to choose a winner. It was a tough decision to make.”

Clare Irvine, the council’s arts and events manager, said: “I really hope that all the students who took part enjoyed what they were doing as we really enjoyed the work that they submitted.”

Chris Cordner, features content co-ordinator for the Hartlepool Mail, said: “It was a privilege to be part of this judging process as the standard of poetry in the town is clearly very high.

“The students had clearly put a lot of time, thought and effort into their contributions and they came up with some really interesting interpretations of the Bombardment, as well as other aspects of the First World War.

“Many of them managed to include some colourful detail of life in Hartlepool. We should congratulate all of the students who took part.”

The winning entries have been chosen in two age categories - for students aged under 11, and for those aged for 11 to 18.

Each winner will have their impressive work published in a brochure.

The winners will also have the opportunity to read their work out at a civic reception which is planned to be held on the anniversary of the Bombardment, which is on December 16.

Details of prizes for the winning students are also expected to be announced soon.