A WORCESTER teenager beat hundreds of others to make it through to the final round of a national poetry competition.

Eighteen-year-old Rachael Maltby, a second year student at Worcester Sixth Form College, reached the final round of a national poetry performance contest held at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The Poetry by Heart Final was hosted by the legendary poet and radio presenter Roger McGough and will be broadcast on Radio 4’s Poetry Please programme later in the spring.

Reaching the final was the end of a long journey for Miss Maltby, who competed at the college and then went on to win the Herefordshire and Worcestershire county round in January.

As well as Miss Maltby Laura Tiffney, a science student at the college, also performed and was highly praised.

But Miss Maltby went on to beat 46 students from the county contests around the country to be one of only eight to take part in the final round.

In the final round Miss Maltby recited three poems, she said: "I feel a stronger sense now of how the beauty of poetry and words on a page can be transformed through the voice.

"Poetry by Heart has widened my knowledge and understanding of what poetry can do, this will help not just my education but also my appreciation of how we use words in everyday life in such intricate ways.

"It has also increased my confidence and social skills as I had to perform on stage in front of a large audience and got into conversation with famous writers and presenters."

Paul Morris, head of English and Media at Worcester Sixth Form College, added: "Every round of the competition was inspiring. All the students had taken the trouble to memorise wonderful literature that will remain with them forever and then to perform these in front of an audience takes a lot of courage."