Pupils meet Carol Ann Duffy at first NiddFest

Poetry contest winner (five-seven category) Elspeth Raw of St Cuthbert's CE Primary School in Pateley Bridge reads out her poem to Carol Ann Duffy and the audience at Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall.
Poetry contest winner (five-seven category) Elspeth Raw of St Cuthbert's CE Primary School in Pateley Bridge reads out her poem to Carol Ann Duffy and the audience at Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall.
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By Graham Chalmers

Young writers from across the district met the nation’s Poet Laureate at the weekend after entering a poetry contest run by NiddFest and the Harrogate Advertiser Series.

Winners Elspeth Raw, seven, of St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Pateley Bridge and Aisha Preece, eleven, of Ripon Cathedral School met Carol Ann Duffy CBE at Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall in the inaugural NiddFest event.

The talented youngsters also received a trophy, a copy of Carol Ann Duffy’s The Princess Blanket and free tickets to her performance of the Princess Blankets.

The show was a ‘taster’ for next year’s full launch of NiddFest which will feature the leading names in writing about nature - fiction and non-fiction.

The judges included NiddFest organisers and Graham Chalmers, Weekend Editor of the Harrogate Advertiser Series.

The full list of NiddFest Poetry Contest winners are:

Aged seven-11 category

Winner: Aisha Preece, age 11, Ripon Cathedral School – ‘I Am The Eye Of The Island’.

Runner Up: Leah Travers, age 11, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School – ‘The River’.

Commended: Connie Milburn, aged eight, Glasshouses Community Primary School – ‘Flower’. Emilia Jacques, aged 11, Queen Mary’s School – ‘The Silver Map’. Avelan Binoy, aged 10, St Roberts RC Primary School – ‘The Anxious Bluebell’. Adam Coates, aged 11, St Roberts RC Primary School – ‘The Clever Little Fellow’. Olivia Kent, aged eight, Glasshouses Community Primary School – ‘Meeting Tree’. James Harker, aged eight, Fountain’s Earth Primary School – ‘Meeting A Cave’. Morgan Leeming-Sykes, aged nine, Fountain’s Earth Primary School – ‘Meeting Clouds’. Fay Sleight, aged 11, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School – ‘The Mysterious Forest’. Agnieszka Oledzka, aged 11, St Roberts RC Primary School – ‘Weather’.

Aged five-seven category

Winner: Elspeth Raw, aged seven, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School – ‘My Magic Box’.

Runner Up: Fern Hill, aged seven, Glasshouses Community Primary School – ‘I Met Rainbow’.

Commended: Phoebe Kendall, aged seven, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School – ‘My View of Nature’. Freyja Thompson, aged seven, Glasshouses Community Primary School – ‘Meeting Old Mother Willow’. Charles Long, aged six, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School – ‘Meeting Fire’. Sarah Walker-Palin, aged seven, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School – ‘Meeting Sky’.

I am the Eye of the Island by Aisha Preece, 11, Ripon Cathedral School (winner eight-11)

I am the eye of the island

I watch over the sedate land

When you think you are not being watched

I am always watching

I am the spy of the island

People come to me to see

The exquisite island

and its beauty

I am the cry of the island

The shrill wind bothers me, yet I stand strong

The sea spits at me, yet I stand tall

For it is my duty to watch forever more

I am the lie of the island

Even though I am rooted to the golden sand

I walk across the beach, the jagged rocks,

The sapphire sea

I see the nooks and crannies in vertical cliffs

And climb to the top

I will watch the peaceful island forever more because

I am the eye of the island

The River by Leah Travers, Leah Travers, 11, St Cuthbert’s CE Primary School, Pateley Bridge (runner-up, age 8-11)

The river roars,

Pushing, shoving,

Licking debris pulling into an endless void of hatred,

The undergrowth hugging the remains of friends,

I feel a pain too great for me alone,

The river roams on,

Slaying as he goes,

Families remain devastated,

I hear children screeching in terror,

The river slows only to be divided,

Branches crumbling,

River getting stronger,

Fear whirling,

I see the river rampaging,

But finally dies in a wisp of froth.

My Magic Box by Elspeth Raw, seven, St Cuthbert’s Primary School (winner five-seven)

I shall put in my box

The first pounce of a baby cat,

A soft wing beat of a bright blue bat,

A stoke of a summer breeze in the air.

I shall put in my box

Rain dropping noisily everywhere,

A bird singing happily in a tree,

My best friend who is happy like me.

My box is fashioned from silver and gold

With my family on the lid and my friends in the corners,

The hinges are diamonds from volcanoes filled with lava!

I Met Rainbow by Fern Hill, seven, Glasshouses Community Primary School (runner-up five-seven)

I met RAINBOW her eyes were sparkling rainbows.

Her hair was yellow.

She had a multicoloured dress with blue high heels,

And her arms and legs were pale as the clouds.

Her dress had a cape on it that was blue.

Her hair just hit a bear, she fell over a chair.

Bear said: “Can I have a ride?”

“Of course, high in the sky,” cried RAINBOW.

Suddenly RAINBOW heard a rumble, it was a storm.

“Quick!” yelled Bear, “let me fall!”

“OK,” shouted RAINBOW, “3, 2, 1... go!” said RAINBOW.

Just then the storm cleared.

Bear screamed “RAINBOW, I’ll catch you!”

Plop went Bear, into a chair.