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The railway company whose trains serve Palmers Green has launched a poetry competition in partnership with Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho.

Joseph Coelho on a thameslink train landscape 1Children's Laureate Joseph Coelho will be judging the poetry competition

Run by Govia Thameslink Railway, the parent company of our local operator Great Northern, the Poetry in Motion competition is aimed at encouraging kids to step away from screens and challenge their creativity to write a short poem about a place they love to visit by train.

The competition is open to young people aged between 5 and 13 and involves writing a poem that is between 50 to 150 words long.

The theme? A place they enjoy visiting on the train with Great Northern or its sister companies Thameslink and Southern. Alternatively, a poem about where they live and want others to come and visit by train.

Ten lucky winners will have their poems displayed on trains and at stations across the GTR network - the largest in the country -  so they can be read and admired by travellers far-and-wide. They will also receive complimentary return rail travel for themselves and four family members.

Submissions are open from 25 March 2024 and close at 23:59 on 10 May 2024.

Poems will be judged by Joseph Coelho, Govia Thameslink Railway and its partner PR agency based on the below criteria:

  • Language and Structure: The poem should demonstrate creative use of language and structure (25%)
  • Theme: The poem should clearly identify a location on or near (less than 10km away from) the Govia Thameslink Railway network (25%)
  • Creativity and Uniqueness: The poem should convey an emotive and entertaining message, where the writer’s voice clearly comes through (25%)
  • Inspiration: The poem should inspire the wider public to visit the location described in the poem (25%)

Winners will be contacted between 3-14 June before the official announcement on 24 June.

Full details and to enter the competition

Josef Coelho: "To Hastings We Go"

Joseph Coelho on a thameslink train

To kickstart the Poetry in Motion competition, Joseph Coelho has written his own piece titled  "To Hastings We Go!" inspired by an exciting trip to Hastings via train.

Joseph Coelho is a best-selling, multi-award winning children’s playwright and author of over 40 books.

He writes across several mediums for children including stage plays, picture books, non-fiction and middle grade.

His The Boy Lost in The Maze is currently short-listed for the Carnegie Medal and has received international acclaim appearing on the White Raven Book list - Munich, The IBBY UK Honour Books List and awarded the Extraordinary Book of 2023 by the International Children's Literature Festival of Berlin.

Joseph is currently the Waterstone's Children’s Laureate 2022 - 2024.


To Hastings we go,
to Hastings we go.
Where smugglers
tell tales from long, long ago.

Antiques line the streets
from the pebbly shore.
Where art makes us think
and arcades galore.

To Hastings we go,
to Hastings we go,
back in 1066
what a royal show!

King Harold defeated
"Yikes what a blow!"
Shame he didn't see
that naughty arrow.

To Hastings we go,
to Hastings we go,
take a funicular ride
"Look out below!"

Go-karts whizz
by the swishing sea.
Candy floss, rock -
fish and chips for me.

To Hastings we go,
to Hastings we go,
a daytrip by train
little did we know...

So much to discover
on the southern shore
just my family and me
and a whole coast to explore.

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply
30 Apr 2024 00:38

A reminder that the deadline for the Poetry in Motion children's competition is approaching.

See for details.