Rainham husband's poem inspired by 'better half' wins first place

From left to right: Mustafa Ahmed, Robert Gillman and Diksha Nagarajan. 

From left to right: Mustafa Ahmed, Robert Gillman and Diksha Nagarajan. - Credit: Havering Library

A poetry competition held by Havering Library with the theme of “vision” saw three winners from different categories announced earlier this week.  

Havering Library's national poetry day competition was held last October but due to Covid the award ceremony was postponed. 

After a long wait, the winners were announced on August 10 at Hornchurch Library.  

Winning first place in the adult category was Robert Gillman, 75, who said his inspiration for his poem, named “night vision”, was his “better half”, Alexandra.  

He said: “We’ve been together for 26 years and I feel just as strongly about her now as I did then, she’s my soulmate.”  

Night Vision

The award-winning poem named 'night vision', written by Robert Gillman. - Credit: Robert Gillman


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Robert, who lives in Rainham, has been song-writing since the age of 13, and has since wrote a variety of media including poems and stories.  

Reflecting on the message of his award-winning poem, Robert said: “We always want something to look forward to in life and in my poem I spoke about being away from home for a little while, and thinking about the warm welcome back.  

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“It’s that feeling of really wanting to get home.

"I was thinking and looking forward to coming home and knew I would get the welcome and love that was there.”  

Robert’s wife, Alexandra, who is also a writer said she felt “extremely flattered” by the moving poem. 

She said together they have “fun” and enjoy themselves and also enjoy bringing "inspiration” and “happiness” to others.  

In the children’s category Mustafa Ahmed, 13, won in the secondary school entry, while Diksha Nagarajan, 10, secured first place in the primary school category.   

The three winners were presented with a poster of their written poem and a book. The poems will also be on display in Havering’s libraries. 

Robert commented that the prize was "lovely", he said: "I am touched that it [the poem] will be put up in libraries".

He added: "I will put my poster up in a frame as it reminds you of what you’ve done and achieved." 

Havering’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, Cllr Viddy Persaud, said:  “Congratulations to all our winners and all who took part. 

“The theme was Vision and at a time when we have all experienced a difficult time during the pandemic, it was lovely to see residents of all ages, put their thoughts into words as part of a wonderful poem.” 


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