PROUD poets were honoured for their literary skills at a prestigious ceremony on Wearside.
Washington Old Hall was packed as the winners of the Echo-backed Northumbrian Association 2011 writing competition read their work and received their honours.
The competition asked entrants to pen poetry or prose on an iconic person, place or building from their area, and all three winners wowed the judges with their poems.
Jack Boke, 17, a St Aidan’s Sixth Form pupil, from Hendon, said: “It’s very satisfying to win. I write a lot and I entered the competition to try and bring my work to a wider audience.”
Jack, who has previously won other writing competitions, said he would like to write professionally one day.
His entry, Hendon: an Elegy or Seaward at Night, is a poem about his community and its hopes for the future.
Jack, who lives with mum Jane, said he had his gran Mavis Proctor – who took him for walks and told him about Sunderland’s history – to thank for much of his inspiration.
At last night’s ceremony, the winners were presented with iPads donated by Sunderland and Teesside Universities and the Gillian Dickinson Trust.
Echo editor Rob Lawson said: “We had over 500 entries and what impressed me was the quality of the writing. I think people have been really inspired by what it was they were writing about.”
The other winners were Gary Leach, 52, a highways strategy manager at Durham County Council and 11-year-old Ivo Freiesleben.
Gary impressed judges with his “Lament to Pierre” – a take on the infamous legend of his home town of Hartlepool’s hanged monkey.
He said: “I was very pleased to win, and to be judged by people and know what they were looking for.”
Ivo wrote a poem about Wolf Cleugh Falls. “I was very surprised and pleased to win,” said the home-educated youngster, who lives in Ninebanks, near Hexham, Northumberland, with dad Lawrence, an artist, mum Kirsten and sister Celeste, 13.
Northumbrian Association chairman John Danby said: “They were amazing, so good. The young people’s work was impressive.”
Hendon: an Elegy or Seaward at Night - By Jack Boke
And a cold wind blows
Making my skin dew and disturbing my hair
My nostrils and pores sting with salt
I stand looking
The stars obscured by an orange haze
The looming shape of distant cranes discernible
I think of the day of that has died
Of the activity and life
The cranes arc far distant
They belong to yesterday
It is night now
No Sun to warm the breeze
That cuts through skin and flesh
Like a welding torch extinguished
I lament the past
More innocent times!
We thought our bounty inexhaustible
We were mistaken
And yet sunrise is near
A new day will surely dawn
And we can return
To that which we mourn
We shall rebuild
Refresh and renew
As our ancestors would
if only they knew
We must forget yesterday
And always forge on
A Sunderland dawn
Enough of the twilight!
Enough of the death!
Let’s do what’s right,
And not dwell on what’s left
Yet the past still echoes like a shipyard bell!