DNRC launches national poetry competition

Tuesday 6 February 2018

The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) have launched an exciting new national poetry competition to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and celebrate the creation of a world leading clinical rehabilitation facility for the Armed Forces.  

Called ‘A Poem to Remember’ and inspired by the Great War Poets of the First World War, the competition seeks to discover the next generation of poems that reflect on humankind’s ability to triumph over adversity.   

The winning poem will be chosen by the public and read by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, the Patron of the DNRC campaign, at a special event at the new Defence facility this summer.  The winning poem will also be installed at the DNRC and receive a £2,000 cash prize.

“The centenary year of the end of the First World War is a very appropriate year to be launching a national poetry prize. Many of the memories of that conflict, and our understanding of it, have been shaped by the remarkable works of poetry written by those caught up in that struggle,” HRH The Duke of Cambridge said. “I, like countless other readers over the decades since the war, have always been moved by sentiments invoked by the brave, young soldiers. 

“That is why – as Patron of the appeal to build the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre - I am delighted to help launch this competition to find a new poem that, inspired by those earlier works, will have its own modern-day perspective on service, conflict and humankind’s ability to overcome adversity.  I am greatly looking forward to reading the winning entry.”

The Defence facility is being funded entirely by charitable donations and will succeed Headley Court as the UK’s leading facility for clinical rehabilitation of those in the Armed Forces when it becomes operational later this year. 

The DNRC was the initiative of the late 6th Duke of Westminster, who set the programme in motion but sadly died in 2016.  Situated near Loughborough, the state-of-the-art facility will provide neurological and complex trauma care and a full suite of rehabilitative facilities together on one site, bringing benefits that will make it unique in the world.

Anyone over the age of 17 can enter the competition.  A series of poetry workshops and events is being planned across the country in conjunction with the competition to inspire people to put pen to paper, before entries close in early April.

A team of literary experts and journalists will review the entries and produce a longlist of 25 poems.  From this, the best five will be chosen by a panel of high profile judges, chaired by historian and broadcaster Dan Snow and including SAS veteran and bestselling novelist Andy McNab. The winner will then be decided by public vote.  

The competition is being officially supported by many leading poetry organisations and military charities including the Poetry Society, Poet in the City, the War Poets Association, the Wilfred Owen Association, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Help for Heroes, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Style for Soldiers, and Walking with the Wounded.

How to enter:

The competition is open to anybody aged 17 and over and is free to enter. Only previously unpublished poems can be submitted, and they should not be more than 25 lines long.

The winner will receive a £2,000 cash prize, and £500 will be presented to the four runners-up.

Poems can be entered by email, online or by post. Full details and T&Cs can be found at www.poemtoremember.co.uk

The deadline for entries is Monday 9 April 2018.

The shortlist will be announced in May 2018 and the public will have the chance to read the poems and vote for their winner by text or online.   

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