REFUGEE WEEK EVENT in St Marys church in Brecon.140 men, women and children including 3 town mayors, leader and deputy leader of Powys county council, head of PAVO, many councillors and a Member of Senedd piled into St Mary’s church on 16th June to celebrate prize winning artwork and writing Hay Brecon Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees (HBTSR). had asked local schoolchildren for a piece of writing or a picture on the theme of SEEKING SANCTUARY and over 230 children from 5 different schools had responded . Of the schools entering
Cradoc School is a School of Sanctuary), Hay School, Llangorse School, Ysgol y Mynydd Du are working towards becoming Schools of Sanctuary), and Franksbridge School is considering this. Schools of sanctuary are schools that are recognised by the charity City Of Sanctuary as being especially welcoming and knowledgeable about displacement, sanctuary seeking and the causes.
The competition judges who included a teacher from Ukraine, a sanctuary seeker from Congo, renowned author Owen Sheers and Punch Maughan local gallery owner really had their work cut out to decide upon winners as there was a very high standard of writing and drawing, with some wonderful expressions of empathy and knowledge about people seeking sanctuary
The evening began with a welcome to all who had come, and a minute’s silence for the victims of the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean, where hundreds of people had died trying to reach safety.
Then Jane Dodds MS and leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats awarded twenty children with Highly Commended certificates, fourteen children with Third Prizes, and ten children with Second Prizes and First Prizes. Money for First, Second and Third prizes was provided by PAVO and PCC. The artwork of the children receiving certificates and prizes was shown on the screen and the poems and stories that won First and Second Prizes were read out to great acclaim.
The audience and judges were very moved by some of the children’s work which will be on display in st Marys church throughout this summer. The Ukrainian judge Liudmyla said ‘I hadn’t expected this but some provoked so vivid and painful recollections in my memory that I couldn’t help crying.’
The First Prize winner in the under 8 category read his work
War is the grief,
The grief that bares at one’s heart like,
To put too much ink on the paper,
But home is the thing of joy,
The joy that fills one’s heart with light and hope.’
The part of the poem that won Second Prize in the Year 4 to 6 category which most impressed the judges was:
You only leave home, when the country is a mess,
You only leave home, when there is danger and death,
You only leave home, when the whole city runs,
You only leave home when home no longer is.’
The First Prize poem in that category included the lines:
‘Poor boy left alone to move away and find a home,
A boy that had to fend for himself all on his own.
A boy they had no-one to phone.
A boy that was known as unknown.I always thought of what I wanted to be but never thought of the refugee ‘
All who attended on a hot evening will no doubt have left feeling proud of the schools and children who provided such insightful work.
HBTSR secretary Dr Ailsa Dunn said ‘ we want to thank St Marys church , Father Mark and Rev Anna Bessant for their support and help, PAVO and Powys County Council for prizes, Judges Michael Beya, Liudmyla Souproun, Anna Bessant, Owen Sheers, Punch Maughan,Val Fraser,Dylan Matthews and Lis Lifford for their time and expertise and the teachers for making time in their packed curriculum to work upon the entries. Above all we want to thank all the children who entered the competition. It was an almost impossible task to choose winners. ‘
We also thank Neil and Cate Jones of Design Umbrella for their fantastic, unstinting support with designing [ and printing ] posters and certificates, Virginia Brown for her calligraphy skills, to Trustee Rowland Jepson for his expert performance as Master of ceremonies and to supporter Jane Dodds MS for her kind duty of handing out awards.
Sadly the photos taken of the evening didn’t come out so if anyone has one of all the winners with some of the officials that would be wonderful!
Please email me on hbts4refugees @gmail.com with appropriate photos for our archive.