CITY's new poet vows to get Worcester's "hard-to-reach" more involved with poetry after being appointed this years Poet Laureate.

Ade Couper, 56, from Worcester, impressed judges on Sunday (June,6) in Worcestershire Litfest's zoom competition and was announced this years winner.

The community mental health worker at Onside Advocacy said: "I've written poetry on and off for a number of years but it wasn't till 2017 when I was diagnosed with MS that I thought I need to start writing my thoughts down".

Mr Couper began performing at open mic nights and made inroads with the poetry community.

He said: "I've made a lot of good friends whilst writing and after passing up the opportunity last year, I decided to put in an application when I knew the role was coming up".

The competition, which took place in online, asked participants to read out two poems and answer what the candidates could bring to the role.

He said: "My answer was, I’m disabled and I see myself as part of a marginalised group. There's a lot of groups out there from different sexualities, ethnicities, disabilities, race, poverty and income levels – and a lot of these people will think poetry has nothing to do with them – my answer to that is is everyone’s a poet but only some of us write it down.

"With lockdown and the pandemic, I think people should take the time to read the work of other people, write their own and try watch poets online. I want to try and make poetry as inclusive as possible".

Mr Couper's poetry specialises in social issues, which he included in his entry. Out of the two poems, one theme was chosen by the panel, and the other theme was chosen by the competitors.

He said: "My first poem was called 'and the clock ticks on' which was about the passage of time. The theme given to us was about 'change'. I thought about how I could make my poem different and thought - pocket change. HOw can my change make change?".

The winners were announced later on in the event and Mr Couper was shocked at the result. He said: "My first reaction was are you sure? I still don’t think I’ve processed it properly. I want do all I can to promote literature, reading and writing within the county.

"It’s a great opportunity and a great honour. I've got some big boots to fill and I will give it my best shot".

The Poet Laureate is an ambassador for writing across Worcestershire and will be expected to reach out to the poetry community by holding events and workshops throughout the year-long residency.

Mr Couper will now be asked to write poems throughout the year for a number of occasions, which he will arrange with the Worcestershire Litfest and Fringe “Litfest” committee.

He will also make personal appearances as at key events throughout the county during his year of tenure as the Worcestershire Poet Laureate and will perform live at events.