There haven't been many contenders for best fruit and veg poet down the years. Until now.

Unlikely though it may seem, Julie Christie, 1960s icon, has written "Oh Brussel Sprout" in praise of that most despised vegetable.

As part of an unlikely charity stunt, the Dr Zhivago actress, (below), was joined by king of the jungle, Christopher Biggins, who spent his efforts on the grapefruit.

There's more. Piers Morgan, editor extraordinaire, has produced a verse on a grocery-themed break-up, "Banana's split with pea".

So could your pupils do better? The poems are part of a contest run by the Ray of Sunshine charity, which grants the wishes of terminally ill children.

To take part, pupils in Years 1-6 must write a poem about fruit or veg, paying amp;#163;1 for each poem they enter. Schools then have until December 12 to pick a winner from each year group and submit them to the national competition.

Ninety-six regional winners will have their poems published alongside celebrities' efforts. The first prize is a holiday in Barbados.

And if you really are wondering, here's Julie Christie on the honest sprout: "Oh Brussel sprout So small and stout I feel so glad That you're about But now, alas No time for talk I'm going to spear you With my fork Spear you With my fork."

Coleridge, eat your (artichoke) heart out.

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