Poet meets the Queen

Stephanie Gaunt SUS-150630-091120001
Stephanie Gaunt SUS-150630-091120001

A Hastings woman has walked away with the W.I.’s National Poetry Prize.

Stephanie Gaunt, who lives at Hamilton Gardens in Clive Vale, received the Lady Denman Cup from the Queen after impressing judges with her poem on the theme of ‘What My W.I. Means To Me’.

The presentation took place at the Royal Albert Hall and was broadcast live.

Stephanie said: “No-one was more surprised than me to win this competition, but I am delighted to receive this cup, especially in the Centenary year.

I knew that I would have to go and collect the cup in front of 5000 women in the Albert Hall- daunting, but what I didn’t realise that as this year is the national centenary of the W.I, the Queen, Princess Anne and Sophie Duchess of Wessex were attending the AGM.

“When we moved to Hastings from Birmingham I joined the Hastings Writers’ Group. I had never written a poem in my life before, but found I quite enjoyed it. Later, I joined the a new Hastings ‘Stanza’ Group, which has done a great deal to increase my skills and confidence.

I am never going to be a great poet, but I enjoy myself - recently I read out some of my efforts at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, London - much scarier than meeting the Queen!”

Stephanie is currently President of the Hastings Ore Branch of the WI.

She said: “Primarily, as a member, and now the President, of the Hastings Ore W.I, I felt concerned that as I do not bake cakes, make jam or knit things, I should do something to contribute, and to raise the profile of our local group. Not that it needs much raising, we are the fastest-growing and now one of the largest W.I’s in East Sussex.”

Stephanie says that moving to Hastings has given her the time and inspiration to fulfil her lifelong ambition to write. “All I need now is to write a best-seller,” she said.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at www.hastingsobserver.co.uk

2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hastingsobserver

3 Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.