Roaring success for nine-year-old Lola Bickley, who is overall winner of “Malpas 100 Years On” poetry competition. Lola’s war poem is to be displayed on a wreath laid at Menin Gate by the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.
Lola’s poem was selected as overall winner from three finalists of the competition which received over thirty entries. Judged by local historians and former teachers, David and Jill Haynes, eleven short poems were put forward from the competition for the final accolade. All poem entries will be displayed in exhibitions over the commemoration weekend to be held in Malpas on 9th, 10th& 11thNovember 2018.
Lola received her award at school when Head teacher, Mrs Sarah Worthington gave her the surprise news that six Royal British Legion Riders Branch (RBLR) had arrived to take her poem to Belgium. The whole school was excited as the motorbikes roared up the hill to Malpas Alport primary school. Lola was joined by her family and representatives of “Malpas 100 Years-On” Committee and School Governors when she received a trophy and poppy paraphernalia in recognition of her success from RBLR.
“When the Last Post Society in Ypres accepted RBLR application to lay a wreath, we wanted to engage with local communities to find a poignant poem to display on the wreath,” said Keith Ogden, Manchester County Representative for the Royal British Legion Riders Branch as he presented her trophy. “We put the idea to our member, Sharon (Jones), working with local schools in Malpas area ‘to broaden appreciation of – Those That Gave All – for their country’and it went down a storm. We picked out Lola’s poem as powerful and thought provoking for a child of her age.”
The poetry competition, launched in February, is part of activities leading up to a spectacular “Malpas 100 Years On” three-day-event taking place in Malpas to mark the 100-year anniversary of The Armistice. Proud Mum and Dad, Sara and John Bickley with sister Megan joined in celebrations of Lola’s success in the poetry competition alongside, Grandad and Grandma Eric and Margaret Bickley with Auntie Cheryl Colburn. The poem was inspired by stories shared of the family’s wartime loss of Lola’s Great Uncle James Bickley whose name is recorded on the memorial outside St Oswald’s Church.
“We are delighted with the response to our poetry competition and very impressed by the high standard of entries. The aim of the weekend is to raise awareness today of what went on in wartime and the entries will be used to share an appreciation of how much was given by those who fought for their country,” commented Chris Whitehurst, committee member and instigator of “Malpas 100-Years-On”.
The next event for “Malpas 100 Years On” will be at 7 pm on 29thJune in the Jubilee Hall, Malpas when award-winning world war one speaker Nigel Meyrick will be joined by experts to value local world war one artefacts. Free entry and refreshments.