THE daughter of a hero soldier killed in Afghanistan will read her own competition winning poem at one of the region’s biggest First World War centenary events.
Ginalee Brownson will recite My Country - about life on the frontline - at a special service in Durham Cathedral during a weekend of commemorative events in the city.
My Country by Ginalee Brownson
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I don’t want to fight,
I want to go home,
I don’t want to be hurt,
I want to do my country proud,
I don’t want to lose the battle,
I want to conquer the task,
I don’t want to stand up tall,
I don’t want to see others hurt,
I want to be a helping hand.
I hate being wet and muddy,
I hate being tired and aching,
I love defending my country,
And keeping my family safe.
I want to help my fellow soldiers,
I want to be there for them when no-one else is,
I want them to feel supported,
I don’t want to leave them alone,
I don’t want them to feel no good,
I don’t want them to feel disappointed.
We all should be proud.
The occasion will be especially poignant as it takes place on Sunday, September 14 - the eve of what would have been her late father Corporal Lee Brownson’s 34th birthday.
Cpl Brownson, from Bishop Auckland, died in January 2010 while leading a night patrol in Sangin. The father-of-three was posthumously awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC).
Ginalee said: “I’ll be a nervous wreck but very proud, it is an important thing.”
Cpl Brownson’s widow, Leeanne, and father, Gary, will attend the service.
“My family are proud and I think dad would be quite chuffed,” added the 14-year-old.
Ginalee wrote the poem during a trip to the DLI (Durham Light Infantry) Museum, in Durham, with Bishop Barrington School, in BIshop Auckland.
She was among 500 pupils to attend First World War educational sessions then enter a piece of poetry or artwork to a competition judged by author Pat Barker, cultural director of Durham University Keith Bartlett and artist Julia Midgely.
She said: “I don’t really write much, this was probably my first poem so that made me quite proud.”
Ginalee’s English teacher, Victoria Downes, said: “The whole school is extremely proud of her, I was bursting with pride.
“It is especially poignant because of the context and everything Ginalee has gone through.
“We like to give our pupils opportunities to explore new things and this goes to show that if you try something new you might just excel.
“It is an honour for Ginalee to be part of the service and is inspiring to other young people.”
The cathedral service is part of a DLI reunion weekend on September 13 and 14, which this year marks100 years since the outbreak of the First World War and will include the unveiling of a new DLI statue, in Durham market place.
Bishop Barrington School has double reason to celebrate as another of its pupils, Curtis Briddick, 14, won the art section of the contest.
In September, The Northern Echo is launching a secondary schools First World War poetry competition.
Schools will be sent details, but for further information email firstname.lastname@example.org