Posted: 21st November 2023

Matthew Ryan-East, Leweston English teacher and Head of Sixth Form, was delighted to win first place in the annual Blandford and Stour Rotary writing competition for 2023.

His winning poem ‘Hod Hill’ (below) was read aloud as part of a special award ceremony last Friday where Matthew was also presented with the prestigious Rotary Cup by the Mayor of Blandford.

As a keen walker and lover of the great outdoors, Matthew’s poem is a celebration of the North-Dorset iron-age hillfort and its natural surroundings, exploring its ancient past, its flora and fauna, and its ongoing preservation by the National Trust.

As well as the Leweston community, Matthew is a regular member of a local poetry society and sits on the committee for the Blandford Literary Festival, an exciting event planned for 14-17 November 2024:

Hod Hill 

by Matthew Ryan-East

Behold! The mighty Hod that rises high

Above North Dorset fields; a chalky hood

To shelter from the wide south-western sky.


Below, the Stour shimmers silver smiles,

And grazing sheep like crawling clouds on green

Float back and forth across the square-ringed miles.


This pock-marked downland crown – here Celtic sword

And Roman spear have swung and sung in blood –

Now crests its verdant skull where war once roared.


What hands were here to build the roundhouse squat?

What feet marched up this earthen shoulder top?

What fingers danced to mould each sculpted pot?


Those whose bones now lie within this georgic tomb;

Whose voices whisper through the grass at dusk;

Whose fires, long dead, once burnt away the gloom.


But with the warming spring comes life anew,

With insect, bird and mammal climbing blade

And branch and scarp amidst the morning dew.


And now our boots trudge up Hod’s ancient banks

To share this piece of wonder kept alive,

And for this Wessex treasure, we give thanks.


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Scholarships at Leweston

Each year Leweston is proud to award scholarships which recognise and encourage pupils with talent, potential and who we believe will make a significant contribution to the life of the school. Scholarships are available for Academic Excellence and in Art and Design, Equestrian, Music, Drama, Sport and Pentathlon.

Application Deadline:

Sixth Form | 10 November 2023 (CLOSED)
11+ and 13+ | 5 January 2024

Apply Now