WHEN his big brother couldn’t find the inspiration to come up with an entry for a poetry competition, little Jake Elliot decided to step into the breach.
The four-year-old dipped into his memory – recalling a visit to the Duchess of Northumberland’s Alnwick Garden – to compose his own three-line verse for the contest.
Jake’s entry so impressed the judges that he was the guest of honour at a glittering weekend ceremony, which saw the stunning, £100,000 Sparkle illuminations switched on at the Alnwick visitor attraction.
Jake provoked gasps of admiration and delight from a large crowd when he pushed the button to illuminate the new lighting scheme in the garden’s hornbeam tunnel walkways.
He was watched by his mother Janine, father Alastair, seven-year-old brother Finlay and three-year-old sister Isla at the formal switch-on on Saturday evening.
Jake, a pupil at Marine Park First School in Whitley Bay, won the poetry competition organised by Alnwick Garden and The Journal to launch the lighting scheme, which has been funded by an American benefactor.
His poem, Alnwick Gardens, was chosen as the overall winner by the duchess and Journal editor Brain Aitken, who judged the scores of entries from all over the North.
Last night Mrs Elliot said Saturday’s event was a wonderful start to the Christmas period for her family.
“When we heard about the poetry competition, Finlay was quite keen to enter, but he just couldn’t get inspired.
“Jake decided he would do it instead, although poetry and writing is more his brother’s forte. He just came up with this idea for the poem and we sent it in.
“He was very excited about switching on the lights and we will have some magical memories of Saturday evening.
“Sparkle is fantastic and adds a new dimension to the garden, especially in the winter months.”
The poetry competition sought entries from writers all over the region, inspired by the visitor attraction.
Jake won the under-fives section, and was also chosen as the overall winner. The three other winners were Megan Anne Hindhaugh, aged eight, from Newton Hall near Morpeth (six to 12 years); Savannah Sweeney, 13, from Ashington (teenager) and Dorothy Whaley, 84, from Carlisle (adult).
All four receive an annual pass to the garden and a luxury Fenwick hamper.
Alnwick Gardens by Jake Elliot
The water jets sound like seagulls splashing under water.
The ducks sound like a foghorn when they quack, I like the waves splashing into the water.
The fountains look like birds shooting out into the sky. I feel happy all around me.