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Despite the rain and the low temperature, a crowd of nearly 80 locals turned up to hear the Lochaber Community Wind Band and watch young Maxi Maxwell perform the switch-on ceremony for this year’s festive Christmas Tree lights in Upper Achintore.
Upper Achintore Regeneration Group’s ‘Christmas Day in Upper Achintore’ poetry competition was won by Maxi who is a Primary 7 pupil at Lundavra Primary School.
The winning poem being chosen by local children’s author Barry Hutchinson who had a busy weekend reading all 76 entries and choosing a winner and three runners-up.
All four won a gift courtesy of Highland Council’s Tenant Participation Officer Karin McKay and Maxi also had the honour of switching on the lights. Kaela (P7), Nicolas (P4) and Brooke (P4) were the runners-up.
Mark Linfield, chairman of UARG said: ‘We had a great response to our poetry competition – many thanks to the staff and teachers of Lundavra Primary for their help.
‘We are also grateful to the Wind Band for performing in such extreme weather and to Barry for reading all the children’s poems.
Barry sent the following message which has been passed on to the school.
‘I was very happy to be asked to judge the Upper Achintore Christmas poem competition, and settled myself down with my Santa hat on, a mug of hot chocolate, and an unhealthy number of biscuits to read them.
‘What I didn’t expect was for the decision to be so difficult. The poems were all brilliant and I felt a full 600 per cent more Christmassy by the time I’d finished reading them.
‘They used some fantastic imagery that made me feel everything from excited and happy to shivering with the cold.
‘I really enjoyed some of the word choices in the P1 entries to describe their brilliant drawings of Christmas trees and I reckon there are a lot of future poets among them.
‘Choosing a winner was a real struggle and I had to read and re-read at least 20 very strong poems until I finally settled on the winners and runners-up.
‘Everyone who entered should be really proud of themselves and their entries. They were all way better than I was doing at that age.
Mark added: ‘Well done to Maxi and all the other entrants. We were very pleased with the turnout despite the adverse weather and hope to see more local people coming to our meetings.’
Read Maxi’s poem at www.obantimes.co.uk/lochaber-2
Christmas Time by Maxi Maxwell
Twa’s December the 24th
When all children were asleep
People wrapping presents
Some expensive and some cheap….
In Upper Achintore the lights shone brightly
As Santa put the children’s presents down lightly
The elves were returning to the North Pole
Some people getting toys and some getting coal
As December 25 finally came
Parents woke up lighting the fire with a flame
Families around the world, sharing their love
As loving as two turtle doves
The Christmas trees sparkled with tinsel around them
With the magic glistening star standing beautifully on the stem.