AN OTLEY schoolgirl has had her poem declared ‘best in Yorkshire’.

More than 25,000 primary school children from across England and Wales entered the second annual Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition.

Themed on diversity, this year’s contest encouraged five to eleven-year-olds to explore what makes us ‘Beautifully different, Wonderfully the Same’ - using as inspiration a poem with that title created especially by poet Joseph Coelho.

Eleven year old Otley All Saints C of E Primary School pupil Kitty Quin's entry, We May Be, was chosen as the Yorkshire and the Humber Key Stage 2 age group winner.

The judging was carried out by a panel including Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, former Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer-songwriter Olly Murs and poet Joseph Coelho.

Commenting on Kitty’s poem, Mr Coelho said: “A massive well done to Kitty – you are the Yorkshire and the Humber winner.

“Congratulations, your poem was fantastic!

“We May Be had a beautiful rhyming structure. You rhyme ‘place’ with ‘race’, ‘language’ with ‘sandwich’ - which I think is one of my favourite rhymes.

“Well done, you should be extremely proud of this brilliant poem.”

Kitty said: “Becoming a winner made me proud of myself.

“I enjoyed writing my poem and it’s nice to know others have enjoyed reading it too.

“It’s important to me that everyone is looked upon as equal, not have different chances because of how they look or where they come from.”

Kitty’s poem reads:

We may pray in a different place,

We may be from a different race,

We may speak a different language,

We may like a different sandwich,

We may drink from a different fountain,

We may climb a different mountain,

We may praise a different God,

We may love a different dog,

But let us have a celebration,

That will spread across our nations,

Of how all of us are unique,

And how we will reach our peak.

Rio Ferdinand said: “We were sitting there saying, ‘Are these kids really this age, writing this?’

“Some of the vocabulary, the language, the ideas and the way the poems took shape ... it seemed more like university students!

“Congratulations to all the kids who took part because it has been a really difficult task going through all the entries and finding the winner.

“We could have picked so many.”

Olly Murs said: “I was so impressed by the Premier League Writing Stars entries.

“It’s the first time I’ve been involved so I didn’t really know what to expect but wow...they exceeded my expectations.

“The quality of the writing is amazing. It’s incredible to see children using poetry and their imagination to put their feelings about diversity on paper.”

Lauren Child added: “I think poetry is one of the most powerful ways to communicate and express how you’re feeling inside.

“By having the football community value the importance of reading and writing, it speaks to children who may not have written a poem before.”

The competition was supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which uses the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children.

Kitty’s poem, along with the national and other regional winning entries, will now be published in a special Writing Stars poetry book which is due to be released and distributed to schools in May.

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