HAMPSHIRE Cultural Trust has announced the top young poets in the county following the conclusion of the Hampshire Young Poets 2023 annual competition.

Held in partnership with the Winchester Poetry Festival, the competition ended on Saturday, October 14 with an awards ceremony held at The Arc, Winchester.

The competition was open to young people who live or study in Hampshire in three age categories, 4 to 7, 8 to 11 and 12 to 16 years. More than 160 entries were received from both individuals and schools from Fareham to Romsey, Waterlooville, Southampton, Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester.

Daily Echo: 4 to 7 age bracket winner Joy Kamara4 to 7 age bracket winner Joy Kamara (Image: Hampshire Cultural Trust)READ MORE: Hampshire museums facing the axe in funding cuts

It was free to enter, with entrants asked to write a poem on the theme of ‘home’, whether home is a place or if it’s found in the people who matter most.

The young poets each interpreted the theme in their own way, with topics including family, memories, climate change and refugees. The top entries in each category received National Book Tokens as prizes, as well as P&G Wells tokens for the schools of the winning entrants.

Certificates and prizes were presented at the awards ceremony by the current Hampshire Poet, Nazneen Ahmed Pathak. Also in attendance were the Chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, Jane Bryant, Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Head of Communications, Liz Leask and Steve Scholey, Manager of P&G Wells.

The winning poem in the 4 to 7 category was an entry titled HOME by Joy Kamara, while the runner-up was Alexandra-Elise Urry with I love my home and my family. In third place was Save Our Homes Today! by Bliss Evelyn Aspray.

Daily Echo: Nia Matthews won the 8 to 11 bracket with her poem 'This is what I call home...'Nia Matthews won the 8 to 11 bracket with her poem 'This is what I call home...' (Image: Hampshire Cultural Trust)SEE ALSO: Political satirist bringing latest comedy show to Winchester next year

In the 8 to 11 poetry category, Nia Matthews’ This is what I call home.... was the winning poem, with Joseph Buckland as runner-up with Lying Awake at Home and Kataleja Tuzikiene in third place with So Does A Refugee.

In the 12 to 16 age group, Home by Ella Tighe was in first position with Isabella Golding in second place with a poem of the same name and Shravya Subash placed third with three boys.

The poems can be read by visiting the Hampshire Cultural Trust website.

The theme of next year’s competition will be ‘Our planet, our world’, with the competition opening for entries in spring 2024.