A very special meeting – our 950th!

 Yesterday evening saw the Group, set up over 40 years ago by the late and still very much missed Daphne Peters, reach a new milestone.

Several members couldn’t make it to the meeting, but those of us who did enjoyed a celebration cake made by Messy Buns of Ripon, cut by Joe Peters and accompanied by glasses of fizz. Unfortunately this was also the evening we had to bid farewell to Ian Gouge, whose tenure as Chairman has been short but very successful. We’re all sorry that Ian and his family are leaving Ripon and will do our best to build on the innovations that Ian has brought to our programme over the last few months.

The evening also featured the results of our first ‘Writing for Children’ competition, inaugurated in memory of Daphne, well known and respected for her many published poems for children.  Our adjudicator was Claire Thompson, Outreach Librarian for Ripon and Pateley Bridge, who did a very thorough job. Claire, who has also recently taken on a part-time post at Hull Library as a Festival Producer and has a special interest in children’s literature and literacy, said that she had thoroughly enjoyed reading the entries. The pieces submitted had been so diverse that it had been difficult to compare them, but the criteria that she’d used had been as follows:

  • Was the target audience obvious from the piece?
  • Was there a clear concept behind the writing?
  • Was it original and entertaining?
  • Was the message behind the piece clear?


Claire commented on each entry in random order before announcing the results.

St. Wilfrid. This was a well-researched and presented piece of non-fiction writing, with a clear purpose. Claire felt this would be worth publishing, as the information was delivered so well.

The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Boy. Well-paced, with good use of descriptive language, a clear plot and characters with scope for development.

Man of the House. This piece had a good sense of place and a good story premise. There was a lot of conversation, which Claire felt was a good tool for revealing characters quickly within the allowed word count.

Dusty the Cupboard Monster. This employed excellent descriptive language as well as alliteration. The anticipation in the story built excitement, and the layout of the text was important to the story.

Baby Wombat. This was written for a grandchild, and was very enjoyable. It contained photographs as illustrations,  took a traditional format and provided a storyline with a happy ending.

Playground Rhymes. This felt like a traditional rhyme but had modern content, seeming to be a combination of a list poem and a skipping rhyme, and gave Claire plenty to think about.

Pip’s Story. This had a very strong voice coming through it, could have been a short story or a picture book and was suitable for quite a wide age range.

In third place was ‘St Wilfrid’ by Peter Page; in second place ‘Pip’s Story’ by Ella Benigno; in first place ‘Dusty the Cupboard Monster’ by Ros Swaney. Because Ros was not able to attend, it was agreed that she would be presented with the trophy, provided by Joe, at a later date. In the photo above, Joe is flanked by Ella and Claire.

Ian invited the members to join him in thanking Claire for her adjudication, especially as she had been presented with such a diverse range of material for consideration. Maggie took the opportunity to thank Ian for everything he had done for the Group and to wish him all the best for the future.

NB Until the Annual General Meeting in November, the Committee will be working as a team to carry out what remains of the current programme.







Our friendly group meets once a fortnight at the St Wilfred's Community Centre on Trinity Lane and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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