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Poetry and Motion

Bad times rhymes? Grief Encounter? It can only be the poet laureate, Andrew Motion, bringing his unique skills to bear on the difficult subject of childhood bereavement.

Mr Motion will chair a panel of judges to decide the winner of the Bad Time Rhymes poetry competition this spring, which invites children who have suffered the loss of a parent, friend or even a pet, to pen a verse sharing the experience.

The contest, set up by the charity Grief Encounter, is being held in honour of Holly Wells, top left, who was murdered in Soham in 2004, along with her school friend Jessica Chapman, top right.

Holly's father, Kevin Wells, will be on the panel, joined by poet John Hegley, Dani Harmer (TV's Tracy Beaker), author Rosie Thomas and children who have lost a loved one. They will be looking for thought-provoking and touching poems from seven to 11-year-olds and 12 to 18-year-olds. Winners will be published in an anthology and stand to win a pound;1,000 cash prize for their school, plus vouchers.

The closing date is June 28, 2007.

The Grief Encounter Project was founded in 2003 by Shelley Gilbert, who lost both parents by nine-years-old and set up the charity to help others in the same position

* www.griefencounter.org.uk

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