A grandmother and grandson from Swansea have taken the spark from Shakespeare, winning the first cross-generational poetry competition at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival launch celebration.
‘Poetry Together’ asked young people to pair up with a mentor to create poetry, as part of a campaign to combat loneliness run by the Co-operative Group and the British Red Cross.
The winners Carole Ann Smith and Joshua Huw Smith from Loughor impressed judges Gillian Clarke, Dame Carol Ann Duffy and Martin Kratz at Manchester Metropolitan University on 16 June with their poem entitled ‘Ellis Evans of Trawsfynydd’.
Carole Ann said, “I’m quite overwhelmed and really quite honoured. I brought my grandson here today because I wanted him to meet the Poet Laureate but this is such a nice surprise.”
Joshua added, “It’s great! I’ve never won anything before.”
The announcement of the competition winner comes in the same week that Co-op and British Red Cross reached the £2 million mark in their bid to raise £3.5 million to tackle loneliness and social isolation in communities across the UK. The money raised will help the British Red Cross to provide vital care and support for thousands of isolated and lonely people nationwide.
Research by the Co-op indicates millions of people find it difficult to admit they feel lonely, and the partnership will enable thousands of vulnerable people to be reached. These findings build on the experiences of British Red Cross staff and volunteers already delivering over 200 local independent living schemes giving practical and emotional support to vulnerable people across the UK.
British Red Cross Chief Executive, Mike Adamson, said: “Congratulations to Carole and Joshua for their winning entry. At British Red Cross we know how important it can be for people at risk of loneliness to connect with friends and family. We therefore created Poetry Together as a symbol of this – to encourage communication and creativity across the generations. Ellis Evans of Trawsfynydd will provide an inspiration to everyone at British Red Cross as we continue our work with the Co-op to highlight and tackle loneliness and social isolation in communities across the UK.”
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy presented the duo with their awards and trophy. She said, “Poetry is one of the major strands of our university and we love to bring the city in here and to find new ways of supporting its children.”
The Manchester Children’s Book Festival runs from 24th June – 3rd July. Download the 2016 brochure here.