Poetry competition honours memory of former Gazette reporter Terry Kelly

Terry Kelly.
Terry Kelly.
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The memory of former Shields Gazette reporter Terry Kelly has been honoured in the way he would have wanted - an award of a poetry prize in his name

Terry died last year, aged 57, after battling a virus for 14 months.

(from left) Lauren Aspery, Charlotte Macmillan and Morgan Place. Pic: Emily Armstrong

(from left) Lauren Aspery, Charlotte Macmillan and Morgan Place. Pic: Emily Armstrong

As well as a hugely-respected journalist who covered Jarrow, Hebburn and the business sector for the Gazette for many years, Terry was a published poet, a contributor to the Larkin Society and a member of the Literature and Philosophical Society in Newcastle.

His love of writing has been remembered in the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize for Young Writers.

Now in its second year, the prize is a partnership between The Customs House, South Tyneside Libraries and The Shields Gazette.

More than 100 entries were received for this year’s competition, with the short-listed selection published in an anthology, and a presentation ceremony held at the Customs House.

It was all of very high quality and everyone who finds themselves in the anthology is a winner because there were over 100 entries.

Tom Kelly

Terry’s brother Tom, himself a writer and playwtright, was among the judges and was delighted with both the quantity and quality of entries.

He said: “It was all of very high quality and everyone who finds themselves in the anthology is a winner because there were over 100 entries. It was a lovely night and it was great to see the family support.”

Newcastle University student Lauren Aspery won the 17-25-year-old category with her poem ‘Home’.

Lauren, who is studying English Literature, said: “I am very, very honoured.I write a lot so when I saw the competition mentioned on social media I decided to try it.”

Winners (front, from left) Lauren Aspery, Charlotte Macmillan and Morgan Place with judges Maxine Davies, Alistair Robinson and Tom Kelly. Pic: Emily Armstrong

Winners (front, from left) Lauren Aspery, Charlotte Macmillan and Morgan Place with judges Maxine Davies, Alistair Robinson and Tom Kelly. Pic: Emily Armstrong

Sixteen-year-year-old Morgan Place claimed the prize in the 12-16-year-old category with her entry ‘Eat Yellow Paint.’

Morgan was also a winner last year and was delighted to have been honoured again.

She said: “I do write a fair bit, but I really did not expect it. I was very shocked.”

Six-year-old Charlotte Macmillan won the under-11 category with her poem ‘The Boats Go Out to Sea.’

(from left) Lauren Aspery, Charlotte Macmillan and Morgan Place. Pic: Emily Armstrong

(from left) Lauren Aspery, Charlotte Macmillan and Morgan Place. Pic: Emily Armstrong

She said: “I had a funny feeling that I was going to win. I nearly jumped out of my seat.”

Charlotte’s mum Michelle said: “I am just so proud of her.

“She is always reading and writing. It is her passion.”