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Competition highlights talented school poets

Some of the many competition entries

A poetry competition organised by Loughborough University has highlighted the writing talent of students in schools across the East Midlands.

The poetry challenge, aimed at students aged 11-13, was to create a 20 line poem with the theme ‘remembrance’.  It was organised by English, Drama and Publishing at the University to coincide with National Poetry Day, held on 2 October.  

In overall first place was Joe Waite, a year seven student from Ibstock Community College, Ibstock.  His poem, entitled ‘Remembrance’ focused on Christmas and the need to remember people who might be on their own.  Runner up was John Tailby, a year eight student from Wreake Valley Academy, Syston.  His poem included the names of four men from Thrussington highlighted on the village war memorial.

Judges for the competition were Dr Sara Read, a Lecturer in English and Drama, Jenna Townend, a PhD student from English, Drama and Publishing and Wing Commander Gary Watkins, Commanding Officer of the Typhoon Squadron at Loughborough University.  Nearly 1000 entries were received and the judges enjoyed reading all the poems and had a tough time deciding the winners.  They commented:

“We were amazed at the scale and diversity of the entries.  It was particularly interesting to see that the subject of remembrance was interpreted in different ways and it was clear that considerable thought had gone into the submissions.  Congratulations to everyone who participated.”

The aim of the competition was to raise aspirations and attainment through English and promote the idea of studying English and Drama at higher education level. 

National Poetry Day is organised annually by the Forward Arts Foundation.  It has been held since 1994 and aims to engage interest in poetry through a range of events and activities.

As winner of the competition Joe wins tickets to see a show at the Curve Theatre, Leicester, who kindly donated the tickets for the winner.  He will also have his poem published in the University’s Community Newsletter, which is distributed to over 24,000 homes in the Loughborough area.  The overall runner up and each year group winners will receive vouchers.

Annie Ockelford, Schools’ Outreach Officer for English and Drama comments: “This competition has been hugely successful and we are delighted that so many students responded to our challenge to write poetry.  We very much hope that this has stimulated their interest in creative writing and that they will be motivated to take this forward through to higher education.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 14/220

The Winning Poem:

Remembrance by Joe Waite

Remember, remember the 24 of December
Shopping and wrapping and stress
Pushing, shoving and hot sweaty bodies
Mum trying to squeeze into her dress

Doorbell keeps ringing, people keep coming
Dropping off presents to swap
Chocolate and booze and gifts we won’t use
And cards from people we forgot

Three doors down sits a man on his own
Looks out through the curtains in the dark
His place is so cold and there’s no one to hold
And without tinsel and cards things are dark

He remembers the time when his doorbell would ring
And his home was full of light
And his neighbours would call and give him some time
And the hope in his heart seemed bright

But another year passes and time ticks along
No one remembers he’s there
He’ll sit here tomorrow and the very next day
And he’ll remember the time when people cared.

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.


Alison Barlow
Senior PR and Community Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228696

PR team

Telephone: 01509 222224