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We hosted a wonderful and unique evening on Wednesday 2 April 2014 in memory of alumna Megan Young. Sir Andrew Motion was joined by our three judges for the inter-school poetry competition to award the inaugural ‘Megan Young Poetry Prize’. 

Listen to our BBC Radio Cambridgeshire interview about the event.

The evening started with music written by Megan when she was at school in the 1990's, played by two current Yr11 SPF students.

The competition was for students in Yr 9-U6, and schools taking part were:

  • Stephen Perse Foundation
  • Hills Road 6th Form College
  • St Mary's
  • Perse Upper
  • Comberton Village College

Sir Andrew Motion, former poet laureate and President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England was lead judge on our panel. This year's competition was of an excellent standard, with Sir Andrew giving inspiring feedback to our young poets for their future work. The winner, Esther Leonard, from Hills Road 6th Form College, was presented with the sculpture and poetry anthology, and all finalists were given a signed copy of Sir Andrew's childhood memoir.

The programme for the event included:

  • Music composed by Megan Young
  • Sir Andrew Motion read and discuss his own poems, and those of Edward Thomas
  • A reading of three of Megan’s poems
  • Students performed their poems (one from each school)

A specially commissioned sculpture, by artist Darren Yeadon, who produced a memorial sculpture for Megan Young (see photos below) was presented to the winner. (This prize will reside on display, with the winners' name, at The Stephen Perse Foundation to be awarded in future years). A poetry anthology signed by Sir Andrew Motion was also be awarded to the winner.

Megan Young was a student at SPF during the 1990s and died from cancer in 2010, aged 32. She was an equine vet and a talented poet, and this competition will honour her memory. All ticket sales from the event will go to The Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) Foundation -Jo's friends charity, supporting families affected by Cancer of the Unknown Primary.

Megan’s mother, Merrilyn Thomas, has published an anthology of her poems that inspired the event, ‘Wordsmith – The gift of a soul’ - this page has information on the book, where you can purchase copies.