A MODERN take on a classic Burns’ poem has scooped top prize in a Scottish poetry competition for Mackie Academy pupils.
The Father of the Bard Quaich was won by Emily Esson and Emma Campbell for their poem Sam o’ Shanter. Winner of the junior section was Becky Knowles with her entry My Dearest, Dearest Family.
This was the second year the competition has been held and was organised by English teacher Andy Gallie. The winner’s quaich is sponsored by the Forest View Centre was a means of ensuring links between education and heritage.
The Father of the Bard initiative was a two year project to find out more about William Burnes, his life and times, and particularly his Kincardineshire links.
Burnes, the father of Robert Burns, was born at Clochnahill, outside Stonehaven.
Based in the town’s Forest View Centre the project ran from 2008 - 2010 and involved people with learning difficulties.
A poetry recital of the entries took place last Friday by pupils Becky Knowles, Hollie Smith and Emma Ross as part of a Burns and Business Lunch at the centre.
Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson, Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire Carol Kinghorn and local MSP Alex Johnstone have all accepted honorary roles in their support for the newly formed Friends of Forest View support group.
Also present at the lunch was the Father of the Bard project officer Dave Ramsay, English teacher Mary Dey, as well as staff and service users of Forest View.
The judging of the competition was carried out by members of the lunch panel and the service users of the centre.
Manager of the Forest View Centre Claire Will said: “This is an excellent way to celebrate the legacy of the Father of the Bard project and the partnership with Mackie Academy has been a real success in promoting the work of Burns and the heritage of the Mearns.”
Dave Ramsay said: “It was very difficult to chose a winner from the entries - they were all very, very good. We chose Sam o’ Shanter as the overall winner because of the obvious parallels with Tam o’ Shanter which is about the dangers of drink and horses - this updates it by being about the dangers of drink and motorcycles which is quite poignant coming from young people.”
He added: “Well done to the pupils for reciting the poems today as it is not easy to stand up and do that.”
Speaking about the winning entry of the junior section, local MSP Alex Johnstone said: “It was very close and everybody had support from somebody on the judging panel but we came down on Becky as the winner because her poem My Dearest, Dearest Family reflected the way Burns wrote about what was around him and what was important to him.”