When we used Luke’s idea to give a bursary to fledgling writers whose mental health issues had made it particularly difficult to get published, we had no idea how much we would learn from the people who entered and shared their personal stories with us. It was an act of generosity on their part to be open and honest, allowing the dialogue about mental health issues to grow. Luke gave us a good foundation from which to work. This is paramount for growth in all relationships, to have a good honest foundation where openness and the wish to seek truthfulness, create an atmosphere enabling trust to thrive.
27th October was the 12th anniversary of Luke passing on. We took winter flowering cyclamen to his grave. The words on his grave stone ‘To live in the hearts of those you love is not to die’ seem as poignant now as they did 12 years ago. Luke remains securely in our hearts and we are so proud to know we remember him by finding ways to enrich the lives of others.
At the beginning of November we presented The Luke Bitmead Literary Award at Southrop C of E Primary School. This year I had asked the children to write about feelings. Also, to have awareness of the importance of feelings and not fear them, but use them as an important tool for life. It is a tool that helps create a strong foundation, like a spring board for developing confidence in your ability to explore life. Discovering how you feel is the most creative way for you to live. It is a privilege to present LBLA at Southrop School where Mrs McLellan and Miss Davies, co-heads, have set the challenge for children to take risks with their learning. To learn from mistakes and explore things they do not know or understand yet.
When I spoke to the children before we presented the prizes there was an air of enthusiasm and optimism. The atmosphere felt exciting. The winner was Izzy, Year 6 who wrote a very well constructed story called Bad Days, Good Days. The story tells of the life changing experience of a parent, who the doctors were unable to save, no longer being part of his child’s life. All the complex feelings of shock, sadness, anger and being unable to cope were very well described. And then, beginning to come to terms with the tragedy by keeping the parent as a continuing part of the child’s life. Visiting the place where he used to live, hearing new stories about him and the realisation he would always be there in her heart and mind. It was a story that was told with great honesty. Describing feelings with openness and optimism for the future.
2nd Prize Lucy Year 5, 3rd Prize Bridget Year 3, Runners up: Ted Year 5, Sammy Year 5, Jonty Year 4. Well done to all of them.
A special award for effort was given to James Year 3.
It is wonderful to know that the children go to Cheltenham Literature Festival and this helps inspire them to write their own stories. What a creative way to be educated!