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Lancaster primary school pupil shines in national Holocaust writing contest

Ryelands pupil Leo Harrison, who won first prize in the Primary School category.
Ryelands pupil Leo Harrison, who won first prize in the Primary School category.
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A pupil at a Lancaster primary school has been awarded first prize in a national writing competition.

Launched two years ago, the Alfred Huberman Writing Awards were set up in memory of Alfred Huberman, one of the young child Holocaust survivors who came to the Lake District in 1945.

Barbara Berry, William Clark, Connor Denwood and Leo Harrison from Ryelands Primary School.

Barbara Berry, William Clark, Connor Denwood and Leo Harrison from Ryelands Primary School.

Alfred never forgot that it was in the Lakes that he began to rebuild his life.

His widow, Shirley and their family remembered this and asked The Lake District Holocaust Project to set up the Awards in Alfred’s memory, in both primary and secondary Schools across Britain.

More than 400 entries were submitted from schools as far afield as Sussex and Hampshire, alongside those from South Lakeland and Lancashire.

Judged by author Catherine Edmunds, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who also came to the Lake District in 1945, and representatives from the Huberman family, the competition was strongly fought.

Madelaine Freeman and Poppy Elliott from QES.

Madelaine Freeman and Poppy Elliott from QES.

But although the judges were keen to stress that they thought many of the entries were of a “very high standard”, Ryelands pupil Leo Harrison’s letter “was the only piece of writing in the entire competition that tackled the fundamental destructiveness of war in such a direct way” and he was awarded first prize in the Primary Schools category.

A poem by Poppy Elliott from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale, was awarded third prize in the Secondary Schools category, particularly for its “strong technical grasp of poetic form”.

And for the first time, it was also decided to award an additional Special Prize to Madelaine Freeman from QES for a song she composed and sang.

“Madelaine performed the song beautifully and the words were exceptionally haunting,” said the judges.

“It is imperative that the Holocaust is remembered so that we can all try to pass on the lessons that can be learned from studying such an appalling moment in human history,” said Rose Smith, a senior adviser with the Lake District Holocaust Project.

“Alfred was committed to telling his story and particularly to school children, and his family feel that these awards truly honour this commitment”.

Barbara Berry, William Clark and Connor Denwood from Ryelands were all commended in the competition.

Ralf Connor, Elijah James, John Egner, Annia Dodd, Matthew Riley, Alexia Mackay, Hermione Holmes, Nisha Allamby, Megan Littler, Amelia Heseltine, Harrison Shields, Lucy Ormston, Lucy Brooks, Theo Stevens, Wadeson Woodhouse, Olivia Addison, Joseph Stephens, Hanna Sutton, David Vyner-Brooks, Edward McHugh and Tom Allan, all from Queen Elizabeth School, were also commended.