CUMBRIAN pupils have won the three top prizes in the secondary school category in the 2018 national Alfred Huberman Writing Awards.

More than 400 children from across the country entered the awards organised by the Lake District Holocaust Project in memory of Alfred Huberman, one of the young child Holocaust survivors who came to the district in 1945.

He never forgot that it was in the Lakes that he began to rebuild his life, and his widow Shirley was instrumental in setting up the Awards in his name for primary and secondary schools across the country.

Judged by author Catherine Edmunds – herself the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who came to the Lake District in 1945 – and the Huberman family, it saw Cumbrian pupils come first, second and third.

Edward Lilley and Theo Parkyn, both from The Lakes School at Troutbeck Bridge, came top and runner-up respectively, while a poem by Poppy Elliott from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale, was awarded third prize for its “strong technical grasp of poetic form”.

The judges felt Edward’s entry was ‘superb writing’, and added: “His words ably conjured the roller coaster horror of the experience of Holocaust victims with a heart-rending finale.”

Theo’s writing was described as“intensely visual and submersive”.

In the primary school category, Leo Harrison from Rylands School, Lancaster was awarded first prize and judges said his was “the only piece of writing in the entire competition that tackled the fundamental destructiveness of war in a direct way.”

Emma Slater, of Ghyllside School, Kendal, penned the second prize letter which had “unusual examples of kindness that made it stand out from others.”

Judges said that many entries were of such a high standard that it took a good many readings before a few began to stand out as just having the edge.

And for the first time, it was also decided to award a special prize to Madelaine Freeman, from Queen Elizabeth school, for a song she composed and sang for the contest.

“Madelaine performed the song beautifully and the words were exceptionally haunting,” said the judges.

Rose Smith, a senior adviser with the Lake District Holocaust Project, said: “It is imperative that the Holocaust is remembered so that we can all try to pass on the lessons that can be learned from studying such an appalling moment in history.

“Alfred was committed to telling his story and his family feel these awards truly honour this commitment.”