2016-17 Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony for the Never Such Innocence 2016/17 Poetry, Art and Song competition took place on the sunny afternoon of Thursday 25th May 2017 at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks.

Children traveled to the event from all over the world – the first place winner of the age 9-11 art category, Leong Tong Yan, flew to London from Malaysia to collect her prize, and second place winners of the age 11-14 and 14-16 art categories Yiwei Ni and Jude Derla both flew from Canada to join us.  We were therefore delighted that the Malaysian Defence Advisor, Brigadier General Kamarol, and Assistant Defence Advisor Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Rashidi Ithnin were with us to support their winner and award her prize.  On the morning of the event, Colonel Rory Radford of the Canadian Defence Liaison welcomed the two Canadian winners to the High Commission in Trafalgar Square, and then accompanied them to the ceremony to present their awards.

The children and guests were greeted by members of the Lord Lieutenant’s Army Cadets, the Sea Cadets, and the Air Cadets, before Reverend Stephen Dunwoody began proceedings.  Our Founder and CEO Lady Lucy French gave a short speech about Never Such Innocence before inviting Vice Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger to award the children their prizes.

The first place winner of the age 9-11 poetry category, Rebecca Farnfield, read out her beautiful poem I Stand Alone, in front of all the guests.  Winner of the Gaelic competition Hamish Scott also read his poem Dà bhalach as an Eilean (‘Two Boys on the Island’).

During the awarding of the age 11-14 art category Lady Lucy and General Messenger presented children from Hampton School and their teacher Karen Williams with a Special Commendation for their beautiful prints inspired by Paul Nash.  The poetry prizes for this age group were then awarded, and the first place winning poem, Why?, by Erin Longley, was read for the guests by the Rt Hon. Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence.  After Earl Howe and General Messenger had awarded Erin her prize, Mari Wyn Jones, winner of the Welsh poetry competition, read her poem Yr Enaid Byw (‘My Living Soul’).

Lady Lucy and General Messenger then moved on to the age 14-16 category, which included a Special Commendation for a group entry from St. Vincent’s School for their beautiful ceramic poppies – one of which has been a talking point at many NSI roadshow events all over the British Isles, being frequently worn by Lady Lucy.   The age 14-16 poetry category was won by HannHannah Owens from Jersey College for Girls, and one of the poetry judges Dr Viv Newman read Hannah’s incredible poem Dear Ivy for the guests.

The final award of the ceremony was for Lara Vujasevic, who sang her song, Fighting On My Own, accompanied on guitar by NSI Artist in Residence Marty Longstaff.  Lara rose to the occasion and sang beautifully.  Marty then led the guests in a rendition of Boy Jack, a song written with students from The Harbour School in Portsmouth about 15-year-old Jack Cornwell, youngest ever recipient of the Victoria Cross.

The winners then left the chapel and formed up into ranks behind the Band of the Welsh Guards.  The band and the winners marched across to the Officers Mess, resplendent in the sunshine. 

There was then an opportunity to relax in the Officers Mess, and winners and guests enjoyed refreshments together.  This allowed our judging panel to meet the winners they had selected, and congratulate them once again.  Francesca Clarke of Portsmouth High School, who came third in the age 9-11 poetry category, also met the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth who came to support her.  Authors Sarah Ridley, Hillary Robinson, Martin Impey, Viv Newman, and Michaela Morgan were also able to congratulate in person those runners-up who had received their signed books as prizes.

All winners and guests took away a copy of the 2016/17 Winners’ Booklet, which showcases the winning work, and can also be downloaded here.


Moray school pupils mark centenary of World War I with poignant RAF Lossiemouth event
RAF Lossiemouth hosts children for charity competition
Moray pupils display artwork at First World War centenary event
Prime Minister and school pupils attend First World War centenary event
Projekt erinnert an die Toten in dem Ersten Weltkrieg
Veranstaltung zur Erinnerung an den Ersten Weltkrieg
MP urges young Islanders to enter WWI centenary poetry competition
Children given inspiration as they remember the sacrifices of World War I
Never Such Innocence - RAF Odiham
Schools take party in Great War remembrance event
Local pupils encouraged to get involved with war art project
Rebecca chosen for Passchendaele role
'It was unprecedented' Battle of Passchendaele remembered
Young Poet Rewarded with invitation to Passchendaele
Youngsters invited to get creative in helping to commemorate 100 years since the First World War
Poetry success for Orkney school pupil
Children to commemorate WW1 onboard ship
'Salonika Remembers' - schools invited to explore CWGC sites in Greece
Brighton student wins international art competition
Rule Britannia with Mappin & Webb's military watches
Island youngsters collect awards at House of Lords
Butt to Barra District News
Broxburn Academy artist celebrating after impressing judges during national competition
Lewis and Harris pupils at House of Lords to receive awards
Around Orkney
St Patrick’s pupil wins poetry award
Josh’s poem about First World War sacrifice makes top five in UK
West Lothian schoolgirl takes top poetry award
Teenager from Overseal chosen to win arts award at House of Lords
Never Such Innocence - Commemorating the Men and Women of the Great War
Aileag: Never Such Innocence
Never forget: Glasgow youngsters remember the First World War
Lest we forget: War charity launches schools competition
Children remember soldiers with poetry
Manx children remember the First World War
Take pride in Great War sacrifice
John Madejski Academy to host launch of nationwide First World War art and poetry competition
Royals attend Never Such Innocence poetry launch
How a new generation remembers - interview with Lady Lucy French, granddaughter of WWI General Sir John French
Charity initiative brings First World War into classroom
Today’s teenage war poets make me proud
Transatlantic Ties to the Special Relationship
Students impress in WWI art contest
Teen poet and University College School student Sam Kaplin wins prestigious national poetry competition
Charity of the week
BBC R4 The World Tonight
The Stage
NSI - House Magazine
A sense of theatre…
Centenary News
How Britain will mark Great War centenary
Town mouse visits Australia House

Contact Us

Contact Us

Registered Charity Number 1156148 - Company Number 8680319