Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form is celebrating the success of one of its outstanding students, Emily Cox, who has beat tough competition to be crowned the County champion at the Poetry by Heart Competition and has now progressed to the national competition!

Poetry By Heart is a national competition designed to encourage students aged 14-18 and at school and college in England, to learn and to recite poems by heart.  Each student is challenged to memorise and recite two poems – one published before 1914 and one in or after 1914. Pupils choose these from the timeline anthology of over 600 years of poetry on this website. In 2015, at county level and beyond, contestants will recite a third poem from a special collection of World War 1 poems as part of the centenary commemorations.

Emily Cox, a former pupil of West Craven High School, is a first year A Level student at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form. Currently studying for A Levels in English Literature, Drama and Theatre Studies, Creative Writing and Psychology, Emily attended the College’s own Poetry by Heart competition to be named as the Nelson and Colne College champion. Taking part in the County heats, Emily faced tough competition from local colleges and private schools, including Stoneyhurst!

She read Envy by Adelaide Anne Procter (Pre 1914), Judith by Vicki Feaver (Post 1914) and Train by Helen Mackay (World War One) as her chosen poems, after carefully considering what the audience might associate with and which she felt she could perform well.

Emily travelled to Lancaster to compete in the County heat and impressed the judges with her recitals to be crowned as the 2015 Lancashire champion! She will now have the opportunity to travel to The University of Cambridge’s Homberton College for the weekend, where she will compete against students from across England!

At Cambridge, students will progress through a series of regional semi-finals, in which the Poetry By Heart County champions battle for a place in the grand final on Saturday afternoon. It is an exciting time for budding poets, who will be judged by Sir Andrew Motion – Co-founder and co-director of Poetry by Heart, who was Poet Laureate from 1999-2000.

Emily Cox said, “The competition has allowed me to express myself and my passions and I don’t really want it to end. The Finals should be brilliant, and I can’t wait to hear the other contestant’s recite. That’s what it’s all about really, enjoying poetry with other people who are just as enthusiastic about it. It would be an understatement to say that my tutor, Fiona Salt, was a massive help. Her guidance allowed me to really get much more insight into the poems themselves, which ultimately led to a better performance. I don’t know if I could have got up on stage without her enthusiasm and encouragement.”