A BUDDING young poet from South Farnham School, whose poetry reading reduced a crowd of veterans to tears, has recently been invited to read her competition-winning war poem at a special ceremony in Belgium.
Rebecca Farnfield, aged 11, who won an international children’s poetry competition with her poem ‘I Stand Alone,’ was delighted to have been chosen as winner in the ages nine to 11 category.
The competition was set up by Never Such Innocence, an organisation which aims to engage young people in the First World War centenary through the arts.
Bagging the top prize of £400 for her entry, described as “deeply moving” by competition organisers, Rebecca was also invited to Central London to read her poem at the Guards Chapel at Wellington Barracks.
It was following this performance that she was invited to attend the centenary ceremony on July 31 in Passchendaele, Belgium.
Lucy Kentish, director of operations for Never Such Innocence, described how “beautifully” Rebecca read her poem in London.
“The whole audience were incredibly moved, some even to tears,” she said. “As such, I am delighted to invite Rebecca to The Passchendaele Centenary Exhibition taking place in Belgium during the last weekend of July – a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We would love to have Rebecca with us at Passchendaele; she encapsulates everything Never Such Innocence aspires to do.”
Entries for the competition came from all over the world and judges described how difficult it was choosing a winner.
Competition judge Major Barry Alexander said that choosing the final winners was “no easy task” and that he was honoured to have taken part.
“As a veteran-poet with a love of history, this was a project that I could not turn down,” he said.
“Some of the most heart-rending pieces portrayed the experience of war from a child’s perspective, while others captured the essence of soldiering so effectively that I found it difficult believe that the words were penned by 21st century children.”
Rebecca herself was thrilled to have been chosen as the winner in her age category and described her excitement at being chosen to visit Passchendaele next month.
“I was over the moon when I found out that I had been asked to go to Belgium,” she said.
“I can’t believe that I have been given such an incredible opportunity to read my poem in front of thousands of people at such an important event.”