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Elise Scotney performs poem at 10 Downing Street

This National Poetry Day, I was given the opportunity to visit 10 Downing Street, courtesy of Poetry By Heart who brought a team of previous competition finalists and their English teachers to this prestigious London landmark! As this year’s Key Stage 4 Champion, I was incredibly honoured to be able to perform my rendition of “Peach” by D.H. Lawrence in the Pillared Room – an ornate space filled with beautiful original paintings and a golden ceiling – in front of Nadhim Zahawi, the Secretary of State for Education, and Lemn Sissay, the inspirational British poet. We started the day with a visit to Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey where we explored the plaques and monuments commemorating some of the world’s favourite writers, and built up our excitement until we were finally allowed through that historic black door. The whole experience was remarkably surreal. I’m so appreciative of the once-in-a-lifetime chance to enter such a culturally significant building. I’m also very grateful for the time Nadhim Zahawi took to make the afternoon so memorable; the conversation we were able to have about my performance is something I’ll cherish forever. It was certainly a day I’ll never forget!   

Elise Scotney with Lemn Sissay