St Cedd's School

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Parents' Information Line

Pupil Scoops Prize from Prime Minister for Award-Winning Poem

St Cedd’s School Year 6 pupil, Thomas Callander, received an outstanding prize for his poem in the Never Such Innocence Competition, which received over 6,700 entries. Thomas’s poem ‘The Airman’ was selected by judges as runner-up in the “War in the Skies” RAF100 themed strand of the competition for the age 9-11 category.


At the awards ceremony, which was held at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London on Thursday 24 May 2018, Thomas was awarded a certificate by General Sir Gordon Messenger, Vice Chief of Defence Staff, in the company of lords, ladies, MPs, military chiefs and other international prize winners, and also a special prize from the Prime Minister, Theresa May. While the military bands performed to the children out on the parade ground, Theresa May’s helicopter landed and Thomas was allowed to sit inside. The band of the Scots Guards and the Royal Marines Drum Corps were playing at the awards ceremony, and the Queen’s Colour Squadron supported the event.


In addition, as Thomas was a winner of the RAF section, he was invited to attend a private tour of an exhibition on Horse Guards Parade, a tour of the aircraft on display and a spitfire cockpit experience.


“We were delighted to participate in 'Never Such Innocence' as all our Year 6 pupils enjoyed using the power of words in class to create their own moving poetic tributes to commemorate the centenary of World War 1. Thomas's poem was a particularly skilful entry, and we were pleased that he received recognition for his writing,” says Mrs Picking, Head of English at St Cedd’s School.


To read Thomas's prize-winning poem, visit