Sunshine, music, smoke from a barbecue, children dancing – Haringey
Welcome was thrilled to have our poetry prizegiving as part of the
fabulous Windrush Day celebration at Living Under One Sun, on 22
The Haringey Welcome Schools Poetry Competition, now in its second
year, is open to Year Six students across the borough. HW members
Leah Bassel and Ruth Valentine ran workshop sessions in five local
schools, and around a hundred students entered the competition, for a
poem on the theme of Welcome.
Our judges, poets Hannah Lowe and Raymond Antrobus, took to the
outdoor stage halfway through the afternoon, to bring our brilliant
students’ message of welcome to everyone at the festival. Six of the
fifteen Highly Commended poets came up to receive their certificates, to
the sound of drum-rolls from one of the many musicians attending; led
by Raymond and Hannah, they then took a collective bow. Second prize
winner Lilly Rodney, from Alexandra Primary School, read her poignant
Migration Poem, and received her prize, the Poetry Please anthology.
Then it was the turn of Chestnuts Primary’s Davide Warhurst, awarded
the first prize for his stunning poem, Falling, Sailing on Powerful Oceans.
Davide’s prize was the beautiful book, A Poem For Every Night of the
Year. An appreciative audience listened attentively to the winning poems
and to the judges’ warm praise of all the entrants.
The third prize, to Ella Meehan of North Harringay, and the remaining
Highly Commended certificates will be delivered to the students at the
end of term. Leah and Ruth will go back to each of the schools with a
gift for every entrant: an anthology of all the poems entered. Haringey
Welcome is proud to share the students’ work as widely as possible; it’s
part of our mission to raise awareness of the need for a welcoming
environment in our borough and across the country. And we know that it
works: last year’s joint first prize poem, Changed, by Grace Barry from
Our Lady of Muswell, was read out in the House of Commons by MP
Catherine West, during a debate on migration. We’re sure that this
year’s powerful and empathetic poems will be moving and enlightening
for just as many people.