A pensioner is celebrating after scooping the top prize at a county-wide poetry competition – despite writing his first poem only four years ago.
Stan Holgate, 78, of Magdalen Road, Anchorsholme, won the title of Writer of the Year 2014/15 at the Lancashire Authors’ Association earlier this month for his poem called Somebody What’s Special.
Stan, who left school at 15 to become a joiner, has written more than 730 poems since starting the hobby, following the death of his wife Marlene four years ago.
He said: “I do not know where the writing came from.
“I am never on my own as I have a very big family, but there was a sense of loneliness.
“A poem appeared and then another and it progressed from there. I was never good at English and I left Accrington Technology at the age of 15, but now I’ve written hundreds of poems. It can be about a matchstick, a seagull – anything really.
“Some are serious and others are pure imagination.”
Stan, who worked for most of his life building furniture for mobile homes, attends four poetry classes a month.
He writes with the Cleveleys Writers twice a month, as well as the Live Poets at Central Library in Blackpool and Verse at the Vic, a group based at the Victoria Pub in the resort.
He also works with the Fleetwood Folk Club at the Strawberry Gardens pub and Gillespies Folk Group on Queens Promenade in Blackpool.
Last year he won first and second place for the dialects category at the Lancashire Authors’ Association Awards, and this year won first and third prize for the same section.
His poem was then put forward for the overall grand prize, seeing off competition from close to 80 writers to scoop the award.
He was presented with a silver bowl by St Annes mayor Coun Vince Settle at the Lytham Assembly Rooms, after earlier winning the Scholes Cup for the dialects competition.
He said: “My poem, Something What’s Special, is about loneliness.
“It is one of my more serious ones! I was asked to join the Lancashire Authors’ Association and it went from there.
“I won £40 for the top prize and £25 for the dialects competition.
“I do not want the poems to be published as such, but some do go to a charity book the Cleveleys Writers produce.
“I just really enjoy it and I think if it became work I would stop.
“I can have a poem rattling around in my head and it just keeps me sharp. I just enjoy it so much.”
STAN’S WINNING POEM
What sooart o’ thing is looanliness,
It’s not summat tha con touch.
Id ‘ov vers aw reawnd th’ eawse at neet,
Ah wouldn’d mind sa much.
If thats weer id ended,
Bud id follas thi like a gooast,
an’ comes an’ sits beside thi,
when tha leeast expects id mooast.
Like when thar’t in a busy street,
er ridin on a bus,
Er, in a cafe full o’ fooack,
id still comes after us.
It’s geet nowt tu do wi’ creawded shops,
aw t’ faces tha con see.
It’s when somebody whats special,
Is no longer theer wi’ thee.