SWEET SUCCESS: Lancashire poet wins national poetry contest

Penwortham Poet Phil Howard has won a chocolate hamper

Penwortham Poet Phil Howard has won a chocolate hamper

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A writer has had a sweet taste of success in a national poetry contest.

Phil Howard beat thousands of people to win a poetry competition run by Fairtrade chocolatiers Divine, after penning a tribute to the cocoa farmers who contribute to our favourite sweet treats.

And the 66-year-old from Penwortham’s piece hails the principles that are helping to stop the exploitation of farmers in third world countries.

And now Phil hopes to inspire more youngsters to become Fairtrade farmers.

He said: “I am really pleased to have won a national poetry competition run by a company such as Divine Chocolate which adheres to ethical Fair Trade principles.

“The hope that such an approach engenders in youngsters from the developing world was what inspired my poem.”

I am really pleased to have won a national poetry competition run by a company such as Divine Chocolate which adheres to ethical Fair Trade principles.

Phil Howard

Phil bagged the top prize in the adult section after capturing the essence of Divine and Christian Aid’s theme entitled - “When I grow up I want to be a cocoa farmer.

Ninety per cent of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms by about 6m farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America who earn their living from growing and selling cocoa beans.

And competition judge, children’s author and poet John Dougherty, praised Phil for his lively poem that emphasises farmer’s are now starting to get a fair deal.

He said: “The winner of our Adult competition was Phil’s poem, Sweet Ambition.

“We chose it because it’s witty, it’s light-hearted with a real sense of humour and a lively individual voice.”

But Preston Poets’ Society member Phil said this is just a taste of what talented poets in the city have to offer.

And the Preston City Council employee hopes the victory will draw attention to the city’s thriving poetry scene.

He said: “I can’t emphasise enough how vibrant the Preston Poetry Scene is at the moment.

“Lorna Smithers, who is the 2012 Guild Poet, is one of the leading lights of the Preston poetry scene,

“The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Picture the Poet’ touring exhibition was also hosted at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery earlier this year.

“It was a major success, with numerous poetry events taking place throughout its duration.

“More poetry events are coming up at the Preston ‘Tringe’ festival next week and at Preston’s Art Festival in the autumn.

“There are also the regular poetry Evenings at the Korova Arts and Cafe Bar in Charnley Street that are held on the last Wednesday of every month.

“Another exciting development is an increased amount of collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire in extending opportunities for more people to get involved in writing and performing poetry.”

Here is the poem in full:

When I grow up, y’ get me,

I wanna be a cocoa farmer, let me,

If I’m not it’s gonna upset me.

See, thanks to Fairtrade I’m goin’ to school now,

Thanks to Fairtrade I’m nobody’s fool now,

So, like, I think Fairtrade’s totally cool now

‘cos for cocoa beans and crops like rice, see,

Thanks to Fairtrade farmers get a fair price, see,

So I think that Fairtrade is nice, see.

I could teach or be a lawyer if I chose to be,

I could be my Country’s president if I rose to be,

But a farmer I would exchange blows to be.

See, it’s all down to companies like Divine, right,

The way that they work is divine, right?

Making fair prices for farmers a divine right.

So this land I’m gonna endow, now,

My dad’s gonna show me how, now,

How to be a cocoa farmer, now - wow!