The Cotswold & Vale Magazine’s “What Makes Evesham Special” poetry challenge for the Evesham Festival of Words.


Vale Magazine Logo 2016

A warm welcome to this wonderful poetic celebration of What Makes Evesham Special. You can enjoy a wealth of reasons why our town and Vale mean so much, thanks to the competition devised and run by the Cotswold & Vale Magazine as part of our magazine’s support for the 2017 Evesham Festival of Words.


The poetry challenge, backed by VECTA, the Vale of Evesham’s Commerce and Tourism Association, has been an enormous success. We had nearly 500 entries and the quality of the poems hugely impressed our judges, as well as the magazine team. What is even more special, a number of local schools turned our challenge into mighty creative projects.


Head judge Suz Winspear (Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17) said: “It was a great honour to judge this competition. The creativity and imagination of Evesham people was a joy to experience – and it was incredibly hard to choose a winner, especially in the junior section!”


We published the winning poems, and the four that were marked out as Highly Commended, in the July edition of our magazine, together with some very special news. The winning words of Evesham mum Judy Cox and 13 year-old St Egwin’s C of E Middle School pupil Juliette Emond are to be turned into glorious works of art to be read for ever more, thanks to powerful partnership working.


Our huge thanks to that project team led by Steve Knight, the Wychavon Marketing & Events Officer with the backing of VECTA, the Evesham Festival of Words, Evesham’s Simply Stone monumental stonemason David Yeates who is designing and carving the words simply for the love of his town.


Special thanks too to Mick Hurst, VECTA Deputy Chairman and one of our judges. Mick is also Managing Director of Evesham-based Areca Design, which – also for the love of the town – is providing a trail-blazing mobile phone app linked to the artworks. The free to download Augmented Reality (AR) mobile app for smartphones and tablets will trigger an avatar of our Eof (whose marketplace statue is another Cotswold & Vale Magazine readers’ project triumph). ‘Eof’ will recite the poems, which will actually be voiced by Evesham Festival of Words Patron and TV and radio presenter Michael Collie.


We salute our esteemed judges: Suz Winspear (Worcestershire Poet Laureate), Sue Ablett (Evesham Festival of Words Chairman), Mick Hurst (Deputy Chairman of competition-backers VECTA and Managing Director of Areca Design), Bob Woodroofe (Evesham born and bred poet) and Steve Knight (Wychavon District Council’s Marketing & Events Officer).


You can read the winning poems, the four that were Highly Commended and all of those who made the final shortlist on these pages, but everybody involved should take a bow. Thank you, most sincerely, to every single person who sent in a poem. You have all helped to make Evesham even more special.



Cotswold & Vale Magazine editor

Adult category winner

Asum nestles in the Vale

Famed for blossom, fruit and ale

The Almonry charts its growth through time

And bells ring out in peaceful chime

The delicious aroma of baking bread

As through Lawrence’s door we hungrily tread

Ye Olde Red Horse hangs baskets of flowers

Which survive our mixed climate of sunshine and showers


Prayers are answered from inside All Saints

And artists outside Bell Tower with paints

Flower beds in the Park full of colour and scent

All through the year, and yuletide and Lent

Our War Memorial reminds us all

That Evesham men bravely answered the call

To protect our country and our market town

With its natural landscape of greens and brown


Our town is divided into two

By the River Avon as it passes through

But our bridges unite us, they keep us together

In good times, and bad times, what ever the weather

There’s nowhere like Evesham, it’s rather unique

With its folklore and customs, its air of mystique

Long may our town prosper and continue to thrive

Into the future, to keep memories alive


JUDY COX (from Evesham)

Adult category winner

Suz Winspear, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17 said: “A poem that makes you want to visit Evesham! I loved the imagery of the bridge.”


Walking through the orchard maze, strolling through the trees,

Seeing buds of blossom emerging from the leaves,

Capturing a breath of the calming country view,

Rolling hills with peaks beyond, a scene in place for you.

Breathing in the cool, damp air, a beautiful morning scene,

The Battle trail covered in a blanket of dewy sheen.

The Avon’s meandering ribbon flowing through the core,

Fields upon fields of rich asparagus galore,

Our moments of history give an ancient taste,

All of this and much more make our home a wonderful place!


JULIETTE EMOND (Aged 13, St Egwin’s C of E Middle School)


Suz Winspear, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17 said: “A beautifully-structured poem with lovely rich imagery. And what a fantastic opening line!”


What makes Evesham special?

I’ll tell you so you’ll know.

It’s a place where tender hearts are born

And visitors come and go.


It is a very special place,

Mum started life in Merstow Place,

In the town born and bred,

A much loved child for Doll and Fred.


Her father worked on Oxstalls land,

Planting, picking, veg by hand,

His skin all chapped when winter lingered,

Jack frost bitten tender fingers.


Now the bypass hurtles by

Where once sheep and cattle grazed

These days Evesham is very changed

Since those Simon de Montfort days.


Furrowed fields scarred by hedges,

Now tractors till, harvesting vegs.

Seagulls trolling the skies above

This town called Evesham, the place I love.


Now I’m in my autumn years,

I want you all to know my tale,

This place is so much a part of me.

This old market town they call the Vale.


TRISHA CLARK (from Evesham)


Suz Winspear, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17 said: “This poem had the personal touch, the voice of the ordinary Evesham citizen which is so often forgotten and lost.”


I came to Evesham, to escape city life,

I bought my dog, my tools, and the wife!


We love the river, the walks around town

It gives us a smile, and never a frown!


During the summer, numerous events unfold,

The hot air balloons are a sight to behold!


Music in the square, what a smashing way

To enjoy a few drinks and pass the day!


A fisherman’s dream when the festival starts

And wonderful nights at the Evesham arts!


A few odd things I must point out,

Like the morris dancers’ costumes as they dance and shout!


A special town Evesham’s proven to be me

To my dog, the wife and especially me!


STEPHEN LAW (from Evesham)


Suz Winspear, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17 said: “An enjoyable and personal poem, conveying the sheer pleasure of coming to live in the town.”


Visit the Vale of Evesham! I’m going to tell you why,

The very Heart of England, where Simon De Montfort died. 

There’s lots to do and see here and places to explore,

So journey along with me and I’ll tell you some more.


The Battle of Evesham, The English Civil War,

The Blossom trail is also at its very core.

Apples and pears, but it was plums that brought the fame,

Surrounding rural villages still shoot and hunt for game.


The Gras season is coming for asparagus white and green,

A 15th century bell tower is still to be seen.

The Abbey, once the third largest in the land,

Burnt to the ground to Ashes, dust and sand.


The Almonry, where the monks gave money to the poor,

Now a living museum, part of the heritage tour.

The stocks still stand where rotten fruit was thrown,

Orchards are in bloom, some recently regrown.


The gleaming River Avon, meanders through the town

Home to ducks, fish, swans and even otters have been known.

You can row upon the river, take a steam train through the trees,

Stand still upon the Battlefields and reflect upon the breeze.


KIARAGH BROWN (Aged 12, St Egwin’s C of E Middle School)


Suz Winspear, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17 said: “All of Evesham’s history and its present charms, encapsulated in 20 lines.”


Evesham in the summer


In the summer it’s full of cheer,

Singing birds for all to hear.

The blossom dropped from all the trees,

Now they’re filled with luscious green leaves.

In the parks kids go wild,

There’s always a laughing happy child.


In the summer it’s full of wildlife,

Hundreds of hedgehogs with prickly spikes.

There are bees, birds and bugs galore,

All this wildlife and so much more,

Strings of clouds drifting in the breeze,

And lots of pollen that will make you sneeze.


In the summer the river’s flowing,

Lots of people on it rowing,

Watching the sunset is always great,

The community gathers for the summer fete.

A nice walk on a summer’s day,

Will chase your blues far away.


In the summer you can shop,

Or climb a tree to the very top,

Old thatched houses are so pretty,

Much, much nicer than those in the city,

Under the bricked bridge people sail,

There’s so much to do in the Vale!


MEGAN BARRS (Aged 14, Prince Henry’s High School)


Suz Winspear, Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/17 said: “Clever structure with the repetition of the opening line, conveying the richness of both the town’s natural environment and its human residents.”


Paean to Evesham


Evesham, Eoves plot high on a hill

long enfolded by Avon’s defensive loop,

and now with summer flowers bedecked.

Town and country entwined, entered

over bridges with imposing views

and enchanting journey down Greenhill.


Thirteen centuries pervade this ancient town;

Venerable buildings absorbed into daily life.

Ecgwine celebrated in the Abbey Tower,

Greenhill’s battle restored a monarchy,

Deep stories recounted in the Almonry,

A riverside memorial to more recent heroes.


Our rich soil, mild winters and early spring

Has given Europe its best Asparagus.

And not just this delicious Round of Gras;

Sweet plum and apple trees galore

Are hung with brilliant vernal blossom,

Then laden with glorious lush autumnal fruit


A mild border people, warm and welcoming

adding Welsh lilt to English Phrases

Now, embracing Italians, Poles and others

Bringers of delight in continental culture.

Evesham, vibrant and energetic

Progresses while treasuring its traditional roots.


JOHN ALEXANDER-HEAD (from Salford Priors)


What Makes Evesham Special?


What makes a town your home?

For me it’s this:

A place to walk,

      and sit,

          and dwell,

              and think,

                   and talk.


To meet with nature,

Dream by the river,

Play in the park,

And listen as the bells of the Abbey chime again.


Let time go by, and then…

Soak in the scent of the flowers, blooming,

Join with the birds as they sing in the gloaming,

And be glad that I am at home,

In Evesham.


RUTH BERRYMAN (of Evesham)


Worcestershire’s Jewel in the Crown


On the Cotswolds’ edge, there is a town

Its name is Evesham, a jewel in the crown

Famous for its battle where De Montfort died

But his legacy lived on and democracy thrived.


The Avon through the town does gently flow

A lively country town, a great place to go.

There’s the mop, the fishing and boating too

So much going on, there’s plenty to do.


Lots of nice pubs where you can have a good beer

Or a picnic by the river, when the skies are blue and clear.

There are restaurants galore, if you fancy some good

Italian, Indian, Thai, whatever your mood.


The famous bell tower made of Cotswold stone

Was part of the Abbey but now stands alone

Henry wanted to destroy it, raze it to the ground

Survived it did, and can be seen for miles around.


There’s a leisure centre too if you want to stay trim

Rock climbing, tennis or a pool for a swim

The Blossom trail in springtime, where you can get on your bike

Or climb up Bredon hill where you can go for a hike.


Marilyn’s night club’s here is you want to have a boogie

Or the Regal cinema to see the latest movie

Shows and musicals, well that’s covered too

Evesham’s art centre can entertain you.




Abbey Park, Evesham


Now trees grow where an abbey stood,

Their boughs held high on pillars of wood.


The birch’s tracery of leaves

Stirs soft as incense in the breeze.


The candles of the chestnut glow

On daffodils that grow below.


The cup-shaped plane, its branches forming

A chalice offered up each morning.


By low stone altar, in a bed,

Grow rows of tulips, white and red.


For in this ground de Montfort lies,

Who tried to chance so many lives.


A man whose touch was said to heal,

So pilgrims flocked – and do so still.


Then rest beside the ancient arch,

The yellow wall, and feel Time’s march.


And dreams of black-robed monks at prayer

And feel the weight of History’s stare


And hear Bell Tower chime the hours;

Give thanks this beauty now is ours,


As under twilight’s gentle gaze

Birds sing their evensong of praise.


A tyrant once raised up his hand.

The church was razed at his command.

Now trees grow strong and grace this land.


MARY FLEMING (of Evesham)


What Makes Evesham Special


I took a walk, not long ago, to the Evesham local park

The Children were noisy, playing, and having a lark

a young man came by, with his dog by his side

then a boy whooped with delight , bottom first, down the slide

There were mums and dads, and grandparents too

grateful, they had chose Evesham park, and not the zoo

Then by chance, a ball came my way

so I stuck out my foot, and gave it a kick,

and in my enthusiasm, broke my walking stick.

not too bad for eighty years old, I thought

too old for cricket though,  I might score nought.

And then  it was time, to make  my way home,

to my little bungalow, all empty, and me on my own…


MICHAEL GREEN (of Broadway)


What makes Evesham special


Upon this hill

Where standards flew

And blood was spilt

The seeds of democracy

Were sown


On reaching

This ancient Avon flow

The seeds sustain

Both body and soul

And journey forth

From this verdant vale

Beyond the magical

Land of Mercia




What makes Evesham special


It started with a vision of the Mother of God,

Now children are playing where monks once trod

And the band’s jolly oompah brings back sweet memories

To granddad who sits snoozing in the shade of spreading trees.


Mums are chatting over buggies down by the swings and sand

And ice-creams are melting onto sticky little hands.

Dad kicks the football and the dog gives chase

While the kids are running wildly all over the place.


On bright blankets friends and families picnic and laze

Some are loud and laughing while others quietly gaze

Over meadow and trees to the glittering river

Where wind off the water makes the lime trees shiver.


The angler sits with rod and line lost in contemplation

On the bank of the Avon, a flowing meditation…

A lady in a wheelchair feeds the ducks and geese

A flotilla of white-sailed swans floating in to join the feast.


A young couple stroll past, they’re from a foreign land

Heads bent close, they share a kiss, walking hand in hand.

They smell the heady scent from the rows of linden trees

As the dreams of their new life here go dancing in the breeze.


Up the hill, the tower bells ring out a benediction

To celebrate and bless our very growing town of Evesham.


NICKY MARTIN (from Charlton)


What makes Evesham special


I am not Evesham born and bred through I’ve lived here some time

And I have learned to love the place, so celebrate in rhyme

That in the curve of the Avon, the town of Evesham lies;

A town that’s steeped in history, full of interest and surprise,

The wealth of architectural styles, the roofs, the chimney pots and tiles,

Names set in stone and ancient plaques, the paving stones of historic facts.

I stroll along the riverside and watch the fishermen at leisure,

In summer go to the festivals that give the townsfolk pleasure,

I love the town in bloom and all the colourful displays,

The trees along the river banks lit up in darker days.

When visitors wander round the town, Eof’s statue gets attention,

I stop and chat and take the time to give the sights a mention,

The Abbey grounds, the Bell Tower and the Almonry,

The Town Hall and the Market Square mean a special place for me.


JEAN PARLETT (from Badsey)


What makes Evesham special


Ho! For the love of Evesham 

It flows like life itself 

The river passes through like blood in our veins 

Beauty is the word for all to see

Signet on mother swan’s back, father in pursuit 

Wild flowers cover its banks like warmth of a mother’s arms

Nurturing and growing wonderful things 

Its mysteries of long gone days 

People on horseback, it has seen it all 

I close my eyes and I live, love every flow of the river Avon 

That flows with my memories that no one knows 

Evesham’s here for all to see and have memories too.  


JUNE REOHORN (from Evesham)


A special town


Its most precious jewel was forever lost

When Henry tore the Abbey down.

But many other treasures have survived

In this most special town


The river flows all around it,

The town sits tight inside a bend.

Old Simon found that to his cost,

To him the Avon was no friend!


We will wander through the Market Place.

The Round House tall with Tudor beams.

Once it was the centre of activity,

But much quieter now, it seems.


Let’s go out through the corner,

This is such a lovely part,

Through Abbot Reginald’s ancient gateway,

Then you will pull up with a start!


Two lovely churches in one churchyard.

If that’s not unique then it is rare,

And if that does not impress you,

The Bell Tower will, down there.


The Almonry and stocks they must be seen,

Close by Ye Olde Red Horse.

Lovely old buildings sit above the shops,

We’re in Evesham, of course.


BRIAN SMITH (from Aldington)


What makes Evesham special (to me)


Mothered by the Malverns and

Cherished by the Cotswolds

Shakespeare’s Avon meanders where

Evesham lies


Unchanged for many centuries

Yet vital and dynamic

The Avon oft encroaches yet

Evesham survives


The rising sun skims Broadway Tower 

His dusks flush Bredon Hill but

When Avon’s mists rise round her

Evesham hides


The Abbey Manor glows a-north

The Bell Tower glints to south

When Avon’s waters shimmer through her

Evesham shines


When Jack Frost’s barely turned aside

Asparagus stalks forth, then

Blossom pink, white, cream explodes and

Evesham’s divine


Broad vale, wide fields, big sky all round 

Art, culture, food and wine

Kind and chatty locals

Evesham is mine!




What makes Evesham Special


I walk down the pathway past flowers in bloom,

Under the shade of the trees that twist and that loom,

There’s a smell of sweet roses and dew covered grass.

And the sound of laughter from the people I pass.


The river beside me is a beautiful sight,

Its delicate ripples reflecting the light,

Whilst above the squawking seagulls soar and swoop

As graceful as dancers gliding in a loop.


Down Port Street through crowds I curiously wander,

Until I reach the Regal in all its splendour.

All around me are people, their faces alight

All buzzing with excitement for their movie night.


Just a small way ahead lies the beautiful church,

A serene sanctuary for birds as they perch.

The gardens around are a beautiful display,

Plants growing free in an aromatic array.


I run through the fields where the asparagus grows,

Then it’s sent overseas, to far off countries it goes,

The ripe tomatoes have a taste that’s to savour.

It’s no wonder they’re used in Walker’s crisp flavour.


And although each aspect of Evesham I love dearly,

There is one that’s my favourite, that stands out so clearly.

It’s not the flowing river nor the streets we walk down,

It’s the great love and community shared in this town.


ELISE ALLBERRY (Aged 13, St Egwin’s C of E Middle School)




Best of Evesham through the ages

Every day we turn the pages

Simon De Montfort saved our town

The Battle of Evesham – Ed won the crown!


On the bank of the Avon

Fishing makes it a haven…


Everyone has fish and chips

Very good asparagus tips

Evesham church has a magnificent steeple

Super, friendly, great people

Hundreds of fields to make you run

Abbey park is lots of fun

Many places to explore…c’mon what are you waiting for?


HARRY DISHART (Aged 9, Harvington First School)


Asum at its best


Evesham’s battle was short and sweet,

Where Simon and Edward were going to meet.

It didn’t go well for Simon De,

His men were defeated and so was he.

Evesham became famous from this event,

As visitors came and eventually went.


Henry VIII said knock down the Abbey.

This didn’t make the monks at all happy.

They still had two churches to worship and pray.

The park was still left for the children to play.


Market gardening is what Evesham does best,

Our gras (asparagus) and plums stand out from the rest!

Around the vale the gras (asparagus) grows

In many rows and rows and rows.

Red, yellow, purple and green

The plums around Evesham are sure to be seen!


CAITLYN MOULDER (Aged 11, Bredon Hill Academy)


The Vale and Chainmail of Evesham


As a town Evesham’s the best.

It offers more than all the rest.

Fruit and veg, fish + chips or beer,

We even had a battle here.


For things to do it won’t let you down

From festivals to Evesham town.

Lots of parks, a leisure centre too,

There’s lots for all of us to do.


De Montfort died in our town,

His nephew, the king, hunted him down.

He fought his best and wouldn’t yield

But he was hacked to bits on the battlefield.


I’d rather live here than in the Bahamas.

If you believe that you must be bananas.

Outstanding schools and pupils too.

Teachers, this must be down to you.


NIAMH HUMPHRISS (Aged 12, St Egwin’s C of E Middle School)


Our Evesham’s Spirit


Legs hang over bandstand walls,

Hearing joyful children’s calls,

Families from far and wide,

Come and enjoy the countryside.


Creaking swings, birds’ flapping wings,

Toys in sand, kids’ marching band.

People of all ages chatting together,

Under the unusual hotter weather.


The River Avon all sunlit,

Whilst neighbouring lime trees hum a bit.

The picnic blanket flattened out,

As a dog takes a rib, followed by a shout.


The ringing of the ice-cream truck,

Followed by the quacks of ducks.

Waiting for your friends to come,

To the park to have some fun.


The pounding of so many hearts,

Of where many people have played their part.

Now here is our Evesham’s spirit,

Just waiting for you to come and hear it.


SOPHIE PETTIT (Aged 13, St Egwin’s C of E Middle School)


Evesham Town


Approaching the vale of Evesham Town,

Where asparagus grows as the sun goes down,

Where the Avon flows throughout the years,

And people support the football team with cheers.


There are beautiful walks down near the valley,

Where dogs and animals can run happy,

Port street welcomes all different cultures.

Where they bring all their different natures.


This a town where education is key,

Containing schools which all have a good facility,

There is a wonderful view as you look over the bridge,

This is the town where we all live.


HARRY POWELL (Aged 14, Prince Henry’s High School)


What makes Evesham special


Evesham is so special to me,

It really is the place to be.

Lots of festivals, lots of clubs,

And of course, lots of fancy pubs.

Famous here is the asparagus,

There’s also the blossom trail – don’t let it pass.

Great for rowing is the river Avon,

It could even be your haven.

Sports competitions everywhere,

Swimming or rugby – just over there.

Shopping is amazing here,

You could buy or just browse and peer.

Lots of people, so diverse,

People from all over the universe.

The bell tower is such an iconic landmark,

You can see it from all around the park.

So cool is the market square,

You can buy apples, bananas or even pears.

The green hill was Simon de Montfort’s downfall,

In the battle of Evesham, he was chopped up and all.

If you want to learn more about Evesham history,

Then the perfect place for you is the Almonry.


THEO ROGERS (Aged 12, Bredon Hill Academy)


What makes Evesham special


Through Evesham’s vale

Runs the Blossom Trail,

The river bends and turns

Round the town’s curves.


The battle of Evesham

Was fought and King Edward won the day,

Simon de Montfort was killed

So he didn’t get his way.


On the river plains

Asparagus grows neatly lined up in rows.

In the town the bell tower rings

As the birds take to the sky, flapping their wings.


AMELIA THOMPSON (Aged 12, Bredon Hill Academy)


My Evesham


Evesham Town, where the fields are green

Full of crops, wheat to bean.


The sound of birds fill the sky

Blackbird, Crows and Buzzard with their cry.


The tower of All Saints church visible in the distance

This stunning landscape makes for a happy existence.


I hear a tractor working hard to farm the land

I visit the local park and listen to the brass band.


Walking along the stunning river

A sudden breeze through the trees makes me shiver.


A fish bubbles to the surface and takes the bait

The fisherman waiting seals the fish’s fate,


Children laughing in the park

Make sure they are home before it’s dark.


Kicking and throwing a ball to each other

When called for a picnic by their mother.


Sandwiches, crisps, drinks and sweets

Lying on a blanket enjoying the heat.


This is what I think of our town

Which inspired me to write this down.


SAMUEL UPTON (Aged 11, Bredon Hill Academy)


What makes Evesham special


Fields of tomatoes, of carrots and asparagus,

On valleys, full of highs and lows,

The hardworking workers pulling tuft by tuft,

A town of farms and fields


The sweeping river full of bends,

The pleasant sound of riverside life,

The good feeling that it sends,

The rowers, the fishers, who if there was no river, would make rife,

A town on the rippling river


The people of this beautiful town,

With the abbey and its curvatures,

A distinctive accent is found

It is the sound of farmers and combine harvesters,

A town with an accent


An accepting town with so much diversity,

A merry town with so many celebrations,

Asparagus, the river, the fireworks it celebrates heartily,

A town to celebrate


This town has changes since the days of Asum

The history includes one fate-deciding battle

As you will hear in the Almonry museum,

In a town of history.


For the many who live and love here

I will set forth…

The town of Evesham.


JESS WARBY (Aged 13, Prince Henry’s High School)


Walk down to Evesham


Walk down through the markets,

Through the evergreen trees.

Down to the river,

Watch the bumbling bees.


Walk down to the fields,

Watch as the asparagus grows.

While you sit by the glistening river,

Watch as it flows.


Walk down to the abbey,

See the memorial standing tall.

Sit by the flower beds,

Look for the beauty of it all.


Walk down through the seasons,

Watch in the spring as the flowers grow,

Watch in the summer as the sun shins,

Or watch the winter’s falling snow.


LAUREN WILLIAMS (Aged 14, Prince Henry’s High School)

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