Children from Swindon primary schools were treated to a visit by Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, in support of the National Literacy Trust’s Lost Words poetry project.
The youngsters gathered at North Swindon Library at the Orbital Shopping Centre where they listened to performances by storyteller Olivia Armstrong and performance poet Dominic Berry.
And the Duchess, a patron of the National Literacy Trust, was invited to listen to a performance by 10-year-old Molly Roberts who read out her first prize winning poem.
During her reading, Swindon-based author and artist Steve Anthony illustrated her poem on a whiteboard.
The Duchess was then invited to give her own reading of a poem by Swindon writer Alfred Williams.
She then unveiled a surprise treat for the children - a cake decorated with woodland scenes - assuring them that they would each receive a piece.
Molly, a Year 5 pupil from Oliver Tomkins Primary School explained: “I was nervous but also excited when I read out the poem in front of everyone. I feel better now that I have done it.
“Before writing my poem, my teacher asked us to go for a walk outside to get some ideas. We looked at some hedgerows and I thought that I would write about that.”
She was celebrating alongside second placed Estella Smith, from Chiseldon Primary School and Nora Vos, from Drove Road Primary School.
Molly’s class teacher Charlotte Matthews said: “I’m sure that Molly won’t mind me saying, she can be quite nervous - however on this occasion she did brilliantly and read out her poem really confidently in front of quite a crowd of people. I’m really proud of her.”
National Literacy Trust hubs, such as North Swindon Library, bring together local partners to tackle low literacy rates.
The ‘Swindon stories’ hub was established in February 2018 in partnership with Swindon Borough Council - encompassing a range of programmes and activities to boost literacy levels among youngsters in the town.
The Duchess of Cornwall has been The National Literacy Trust’s patron since 2010.
Following her visit to North Swindon Library, Her Royal Highness travelled to the Lyndhurst Centre in the town to meet foster carers and looked after children taking part in a storytelling activity.