Spalding Gentlemen's Society.

Searching for our first Poet Laureate

The search is on for the first ever Poet Laureate for South Holland as part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The contest is open to everyone in South Holland over the age of 16 and the theme of the piece is the jubilee.

Entries need to be submitted by 5pm on Friday, May 27 and entries will be shortlisted and put before judges, including Voice editor Rachel Mayfield, to select the final winner.

The project is being led by the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society in collaboration with Yaxley-based Young Technicians Academy.

The winner will have their poem added into the museum’s collection for future generations to enjoy.

There will also be a video of the winning composition and the title of South Holland’s Poet Laureate for the following year.

“This is a competition to find a voice for the area,” said a spokesman.

The society, founded in 1710, is the oldest surviving provincial learning society and, notwithstanding the name, women members are welcome.

It collects ‘curios things’ and has a library and archive holding around 30,000 books, periodicals, maps and prints. Some date back to the Middle Ages.

There is also a Local Studies Collection which houses a collection of material relevant to the area.

The poetry competition is funded by the National Lottery and for more information on taking part see the website or email submission@outtafocus
The Society is also currently hosting the Portrait Promenade, Engaging People Past & Present exhibition.
It joined with Transported Arts to produce the show of portraits of shoppers and traders in the town.
Both the portrait project and a bid for the society to open on Wednesday lunchtimes for non-members were funded by Arts Council grants.
Images from the society’s collection were used to compare life past and present.
The museum is open from 11am to 1pm Wednesdays, the third Sunday of the month 2pm to 4pm and by appointment.

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