‘Champions of the region’ are honoured

PEOPLE who have made a significant contribution to North-East life were honoured last night by the Northumbrian Association.

PEOPLE who have made a significant contribution to North-East life were honoured last night by the Northumbrian Association.

This year’s recipients of the Hotspur Awards were Alastair Balls, chief executive of The Centre for Life, Newcastle, and – collectively – Tyne & Wear Museums.

The award for Tyne & Wear Museums was collected by chairman Coun Ged Bell and director Alec Coles. The awards were presented by One NorthEast chairman Margaret Fay in a ceremony at Washington Old Hall.

Previous Hotspur Award winners include Beamish Museum founder Frank Atkinson, playwright Lee Hall, artist Antony Gormley, Alan Shearer and – again collectively – Gateshead Council.

Also rewarded last night were the winner and runners-up in the Northumbrian Association’s annual writing competition, open to children in their last year at primary school. The youngsters were challenged to write a poem or a piece of prose inspired by any facet of North-East life.

This year’s winner was James Dillon, 11, of St Mary and St Thomas Aquinas RC Primary School, for his poem Kielder Dam.

Highly commended were fellow 11-year-olds Ellen Hardie, of Kells Lane Primary School, for the poem Saltwell, and Jason Jones, of Shincliffe C of E Primary School, for a poem called The Empire of Wearside.

John Danby, Northumbrian Association treasurer, said: “We got a good big entry this year for the writing competition so we were very pleased about that.”

The Northumbrian Association, which has about 200 members, was set up in 1997 to champion the region and to campaign for the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels from the British Library in London.

“Some people think we are wasting our time and that we’re banging our heads against a brick wall,” said Mr Danby.

“But if enough people bang their heads against a wall, eventually it will fall down. We are still optimistic.”

For more information about the Northumbrian Association, visit www.northumbrianassociation.com

Read the winners of the Northumbrian Association's Young Writers Award on page 2

Kielder Dam by James Dillon of St. Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas R.C. Primary School

Asleep, by night, the creature sighs,

Surrounded by its fringe of pine,

While at its southern face, its mouth

Is fed by silver veins of Tyne.

The Lake’s scales glisten in the moonlight,

The wall of stone, a prison door,

Holding its unstoppable fury,

Keeping it in its mighty claw!

In Kielder Forest, it’s made its home

Among the spruce and all the pine.

In the mid there is hidden beauty

Where Lake and Forest both entwine.

A tower looms, engulfed in mist,

Rising from the Lake’s stone floor.

It is the brain, controlling all;

The Master of that mighty claw.

And when the Monster is unleashed,

It’s a creature of power, a raging beast,

Speeding down the river street,

Bringing water to the North-East.

Winner of The Northumbrian Association's Young Writer's Award 2007

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The Empire of Wearside by Jason Jones of Shincliffe C of E Primary School

Spirits of an army of infinite past players haunt every tier,

Cheering present players in their quest for glory,

Eternal fame, eternal contentment.

Their eerie voices combine with those of hoping fans to create a deafening roar,

A true masterpiece,

Past and present in perfect harmony, an unforgettable sensation to experience.

Yet each of these former idols have touched triumph in their legacy,

Tasted defeat in their legacy,

Gone through victory and ecstasy, suffered immense pain in their legacy.

So why do they rest their faith on these modern stars?

Because football is a contagious disease and once you’ve caught it, there's no cure.

It brings out the best and worst in all who’ve contracted it.

Football causes a hurricane of raw, human emotion.

On Wearside, one team reigns supreme.

It's their domain.

They have complete dominance.

Their territory remains unconquered.

Only the elite of the elite succeed.

Only the absolute finest even contemplate a conquest

Against the Black Cats in their own region.

History is born there.

Opposition moral is terminated there.

A great fort is one that protects ambitions

And creates isolation and despair for enemies.

The Stadium of Light is possibly the greatest fortress in the world

For achieving this.

I was born with a red and white heart, a red and white soul.

My life is red and white and may I die a red and white death,

Red and White to the core.

Wearside has one empire:

SUNDERLAND ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL CLUB.

INTO THE LIGHT.

Highly commended in the Northumbrian Association's Young Writer's Award 2007

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Saltwell... by Ellen Hardie of Kells Lane Primary School

The wind lifts off all the tears,

All the heart-warming memories kept.

Families stand with their heads up,

Proud, willing to take in the facts, soothing or not.

When one is not herself treasures are left beneath the foot

In the place where the sun still shines.

Follow your heart.

It leads you through and becomes your only leader.

You find yourself playing along, hoping it is true,

That they really want to be with you.

With feelings so deep, this place helps you to remember,

Remember that beautiful face that once stared back at you.

The trees seem to hug you with their coats of bark,

Hug you and make that venomous pain rapidly react.

Then glorious memories come back in a flicker of feelings

In the place where the sun still shines.

Sad faces begin to cry but inside are braver hearts.

Built to play was the park, where the sound of children's laughter echoes.

Then came the place where ghosts and spirits are at peace,

Resting in total harmony

In the place where the sun still shines.

With heaven so close but yet, so far,

Although this is the closest you’ll ever get,

You feel your hand is inches out of reach;

Like a kitten frantically searching for its owner

And yet, your feelings shoot like a shooting star,

Trying to comfort the lost one.

Loved ones pray in hope but families will not yet depart

The special place where souls are at peace, the place where the sun still shines,

Saltwell Cemetery.

Will the people of the sky see you there?

Highly commended in the competition for The Northumbrian Association's Young Writer's Award 2007

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