Schools Writing Competition 2012


The Society holds a Schools Writing Competition every two years. The theme for the 2012 competition was 'Remembrance'. 


We are delighted to publish the winning entries below. However, unfortunately the Society is unable to give the actual names of the winners for privacy reasons.


2012 Competition Results


Winner, £200

The Holy Trinity Cof E Secondary School, Crawley, West Sussex

Runner-up, £100 Lady Hawkins School, Kington, Herefordshire
Runner-up, £100 Wallington High School for Girls, Surrey



2012 Winning Essay


The Holy Trinity Cof E Secondary School, Crawley, West Sussex




Remembrance Day: rain pouring off garish umbrellas, standing fidgeting while water seeps down your neck and your arms and through the gaps in your waterproof coat. Remembrance Day means that you stand at the back of a crowd of people and wait around in silence as though expecting something, the way a hunter waits for its prey. Trying hard to look sad when those misty-eyed old men catch you staring at their fancy uniforms but really, the only thing on your mind is something completely trivial that happened at school the day before.


That’s what it used to mean, when there was nothing more outrageous than the stupid primary school arguments that I used to have. That’s what has always felt right for Remembrance Day and now, suddenly, it is all wrong because you realize that there is more to life than those petty fights in the playground.


It used to follow a rigid routine; stand in the freezing cold while somebody unimportant plays a melancholy song on an out of tune trumpet. It never used to matter. You were unwillingly dragged there by your parents and made to be quiet. Now I stand silently out of choice; there is no longer any point in talking. The colour and noise are dripping away and in those frozen two minutes my mind seems to be the only thing alive. It races like a stampede across the savannah and in between each fleeting idea I wonder whether Dad knows that we are having a service for him.


Does he even know anything anymore? Or has he gone on without us and completely forgotten that we are still alive and thinking about him, trying to capture his spirit in garlands of poppies? How much can someone know once they have been shot to bloody shreds? Can they know that their family is standing there for them, near the front of a group of people whilst the crowd envelopes them in “he was so brave”s and “I’m so sorry”s and “our thoughts are with you”s? When all they really want is some time to feel their way around the deep ugly wound that comes with grief.


It hurt when they told us. Doesn’t anyone realize that? Why would they try and realize? I never spared a thought for those old men, I never thought about them as they marched slowly and sadly through the town with armfuls of blood coloured flowers. I still wouldn’t have cared if Dad had come home walking, instead of in a touching-is-forbidden coffin. But now, all I can still see is that coffin disappearing through the cloth curtains at the crematorium.


My Dad, gone forever.


He flickers there, beyond the crowd, too far away to reach, and between us the great chasm of death swallows up the mocking rain as it falls from the charcoal-smudged sky, singing and cackling.




2012 Runner up


Lady Hawkins School, Kington, Herefordshire




A light

A flare

The crash of thunder

A soldier’s sob

His flesh asunder


The mud

A glowing ember

They swore to him

He’d be remembered.


A thousand songs to praise the war,

A thousand more to hate it

One to condemn our bloodlust’s rage

The other there to sate it.


A wound

A prayer

A broken promise

A soldier pays

His blood in homage

A gasp

A sigh

A soul set free

His final whisper

“Remember me”


Marble Warriors guard the dead

Accusing those with breath:

We remembered the living as we fell,

Yet you are the ones who forget.


A blare.

A shout.

A neon sign.

A scream that’s theirs.

A scream that’s mine.

The birds.

The trees.

They repeat it yet.

The time-honoured phrase,

Never Forget.




2012 Runner up


Wallington High School for Girls, Surrey




I never realised how one photograph could bring back a flood of memories that could bring us close to tears. Whenever my parents opened the family album, they would look at its pages for hours and sometimes tears would make tracks down curved cheeks. I thought that they were too sentimental. But recently, I opened the same album which I had not looked at before. Just one picture started a chain of memories stretching back to my childhood years in our family home in the city of Jaffna in Sri-Lanka.


As I looked at the picture, every detail in it reminded me of the house, the place and our lives there. It was not a grand house, but it was a house where our family had lived for generations and generations. I remember the spacious veranda on three sides of the house. It was the place where I used to spend most of my time playing with my best friend, Janani; she is there in that picture standing next to me under the mango tree. We were not just friends. We were the best of friends. She was our neighbour’s daughter who spent most of her time in our home. She was a lively person full of laughter. My parents loved her too; we came to think of her nearly as part of our family.


She and I would walk to school together – the same school to which her parents and mine had gone to. So the school was like a second home to us. As we walked she would tell funny stories and we would stop from screams of laughter. There were no strangers we would meet on the road. Everyone knew each other. Her cheerful face would make some of them pat her on her head and ask “What mischief have you been up to today”? She would make faces at them and everyone would laugh. On our way to school, we would walk, she would skip and we sometimes would race each other.


Then it came. The civil war, our peaceful happy lives were shattered forever. Day and night we shivered in fear at the exploding shells. We were hearing rumours of terrible things which had happened to some of our friends. We thought it would never happen to us.


I remember the day when it happened. The day when I heard a deafening explosion. Even before I saw it I knew what had happened. It was like the end of a dream. I know I shouldn’t blame myself for what happened but sometimes I can’t help thinking that if I had just done something different that day, Janani would have been here in my life now. Even if I stopped her a second before, she would have grown older with me. But time is the silent killer of everything. It chips away at things that were once thriving. Tick tock, chip chip. All I would like to do is call up Janani and tell her about my day.