Judges blown away by poetry as talented Wigan schoolgirls win charity's competition

Two talented schoolgirls are celebrating after being crowned the winners of a poetry competition run by a Wigan charity.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:55 am

Hundreds of students from schools and colleges across the borough entered The Brick’s contest.

Now the 2021 Poets of the Year have been named as Erin Myhan, a year six pupil at St Thomas’s CE Junior and Infant School in Golborne, and Elisha Foster, a year 12 student from St John Rigby College.

The Brick launched the poetry competition in February to raise awareness of poverty and homelessness affecting people across the borough.

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Year six pupil Erin Myhan with Keely Dalfen, from The Brick
Year six pupil Erin Myhan with Keely Dalfen, from The Brick

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Wigan charity announces finalists in its Poet of the Year contest

“The hundreds of entries we received were all amazing and the competition has shown just how much talent our young people have, they are truly inspirational.

“Erin’s poem, Who Will Be My Hero?, identifies many true aspects of homeless life and Erin delivers the poem with such passion, she really stood out in the primary school group.

“Elisha’s poem, Real Life, is challenging to read, she challenges the world for doing nothing and this makes us think.”

Elisha Foster with Chris Chandler, head of English at St John Rigby College, and Keely Dalfen

Erin said: “All of the poems were amazing and I feel so happy and proud to find out that my poem has been chosen as the winner. I would like to say a big thank you to The Brick and my teacher Mr Power for giving me the opportunity to write about something that I really care about.

“Hopefully our poems will help to raise awareness and one day no-one will be homeless.”

Her teacher James Power said: “As a school, we are so incredibly proud of Erin’s achievement. She is a fantastic pupil and fully deserves this recognition of her talent - we hope, as a result, this will increase her confidence in the future to pursue other writing projects.

“Well done to all that entered and we would like to say a massive thank you to The Brick as well for organising this competition.”

Elisha said: “When I received a phone call from my teacher saying that I had won the contest, I was honestly speechless. I really wasn’t expecting to win since everyone else’s poems were so amazing.

“Thank you to everyone who created the competition and who gave me the opportunity to share my words.”

Chris Chandler, head of English at St John Rigby College, said: “We are so proud of Elisha and her wonderful poem. The fact that Elisha found the time to consider the situation of others in such a difficult year fills me with hope. I would also like to thank The Brick for this opportunity and for the tireless work they do for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you!”

Erin’s prize was a teepee party for four and Elisha won a festival camping kit.

Their poems will be narrated and recorded by Soul Like Yours poet Matt Kelly, to be showcased on The Brick’s website.

He said: “We have all been amazed by the standard of the poems in the competition, we have such incredible talent in the borough.

“While it was really difficult to choose between the submissions, the two winning poems by Erin and Elisha really stood out with their powerful use of language for what is such a difficult topic.

“Erin’s poem raised awareness of the difficult subject of armed forces veterans who are struggling with mental health and homelessness. Elisha’s poem touched on the harsh reality of a young person living on the streets and the desperation and loneliness they feel.

“We hope that through Erin’s and Elisha’s poetry, we can continue to tackle the stigma associated with homelessness. We want to encourage people to see that deep down we are all the same and that people living on the streets deserve the same respect, love and support we receive in our lives.”

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