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Gyles Brandreth judges Poetry Together contest in Cambridge





TV personality and author Gyles Brandreth visited Sancton Wood School in Cambridge for the judging of a national poetry writing competition – and some of the winners will now appear on ITV’s This Morning tomorrow (Friday, November 11).

Gyles Brandreth (back, second left) hosted the Poetry Together competition final at Sancton Wood School. Back row, from left, principal of Sancton Wood School Richard Settle, Gyles Brandreth, author Lucy Cuthew and Waterstones children’s laureate, Joseph Coelho. Picture: Keith Heppell
Gyles Brandreth (back, second left) hosted the Poetry Together competition final at Sancton Wood School. Back row, from left, principal of Sancton Wood School Richard Settle, Gyles Brandreth, author Lucy Cuthew and Waterstones children’s laureate, Joseph Coelho. Picture: Keith Heppell

Schoolchildren and senior citizens were invited to take part in the Poetry Together 2022 contest, with categories for those aged five to 11, 12 to 18 and 65-plus. The shortlisted candidates travelled to the Cambridge school for the finals day on November 1.

Two Sancton Wood pupils – Benjamin Andrews, 10, and Kherlen Ho, 12 – were among the winners, with Sancton Wood being the only Cambridge school to have finalists.

Gyles, a former MP who created the Poetry Together project, was joined on the judging panel by Waterstones children’s laureate Joseph Coelho and poet and author Lucy Cuthew.

A number of Cambridge schools were represented – pupils from Impington Village College joined in the poetry workshops, for example – and grandparents of some of the finalists were among those attending.

Afterwards, Gyles told the Cambridge Independent: “It’s gone very well. It’s part of something called Poetry Together, where every year we get schoolchildren aged between five and 18 to learn a poem by heart and then they meet up with older people from a care home who have learned the same poem and they perform it together and have tea and cake.

“But this year we thought we’d try and do something extra and we invited the older people and the younger people to write poems on the theme of ‘laughter and tears’.

“Hundreds of people took part from across the country and we had the finalists come to Cambridge today, to Sancton Wood School, where they have performed their poems.

“And we have chosen the winners, a couple of whom will be appearing on This Morning on November 11 with their poems – and I have to say the standard was amazing.”

[Read more: Cambridge patients’ fragmented memories inspire new book of poetry]

The winners were:

  • Joint winners (juniors): Sancton Wood pupil Benjamin Andrews, 10, with Gift Wrap at Christmas and Georgina Wall, 11, for A Poppy Field
  • Joint winners (seniors): Isabella Davison, 13, for That Sickening Feeling and Sancton Wood pupil Kherlen Ho, 12, with Stories with Youthful Boy
  • Senior Citizens: Linda Woolfson, 80, with The Whole Family are Coming

It is yet to be revealed which winners will appear on This Morning. For more on Poetry Together, visit poetrytogether.com.



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