Berkhamsted Group | 28.02.2014



Berkhamsted English teacher Alastair Harrison has won the biggest free annual poetry competition in the UK with his poem Someone Died For Me. 

Mr Harrison entered this free competition along with over 10,000 other UK poets. “It’s the biggest poetry competition that there’s ever been and has been running since 1997,” explained Peter Quinn managing director of United Press which runs this competition every year. “The aim of the competition is to encourage more people to get involved in poetry and Alastair is a perfect example because this is the first poem he has submitted to anybody.” Mr Harrison received his £1,000 prize and silver trophy to keep for life at a presentation at Aylesbury Library on 24 February.  “I am delighted and shocked at winning this competition,” said Mr Harrison. “My classroom is my playground – a cavern of creativity. I love spreading the joy of poetry.” Poets all over the UK enter this competition – many of them completely new to poetry. “There is no similar opportunity for people of all ages to get involved in poetry,” added Mr Quinn. United Press picks 250 regional winners in this annual competition.   They then put the 250 regional winners in a book – the national poetry anthology and give each poet a copy. These poets then vote for the best poem in the book and it was Mr Harrison’s poem Someone Died For Me that secured the highest votes.  “Without the support of libraries the competition would not be as huge as it has become,” explained Mr Quinn. “All the libraries in the UK kindly displayed posters and handed out entry forms for the competition. That’s why we always make the presentation to the winner at his or her local library.” “I am always encouraging boys at school to enter national writing competitions so I thought that I should practise what I preach,” said Mr Harrison. “I’d like to thank my students past and present for inspiring me each day with their thoughts and words.” 

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