THE winning entry to a poetry competition that will mark the route of Bradford's buried beck has been unveiled.

A piece written by Jane Callaghan, of Wilsden, entitled Bradford Beck, has been selected by organisers the Friends of Bradford's Becks (FOBB), who want to plot the course of the waterway, which flows beneath the city centre.

She said: "I'm excited and amazed. I was trying to bring the beck to life and describe what it was like underground - hidden away from view all these years and forgotten about."

The project will use 15 stone markers, each carrying one line of the specially-written poem. The hand-carved Welsh sandstone slabs will be placed in the pavement at key locations from Thornton Road, by the Odeon building, right through to Lower Kirkgate, past The Midland Hotel.

"The most exciting thing from my point of view is that my words are going to be on these slabs long after I've gone," she added.

FOBB chairman Professor David Lerner said: "We were delighted to get 29 entries - there are lots of poets around Bradford! Many of the poets took a lot of trouble to research the Beck, its history and the locations along it that the plaques were intended for. The resulting poems are very varied but all interesting and all clearly about Bradford Beck. Not all the poems complied with the strict requirements on numbers of lines, line lengths, and whether the lines could be split into two to fit the plaques. But 19 poems did comply.

"The winning entry was bright and well thought out. It has got rhythm and a sense of place, with good references to the sources of the Beck and other locations. It also reflects the history of Bradford's industry.

"And finally each line also makes sense on its own and so would work on a plaque, as well as part of the whole poem."

The four judges were Alan Hall of Bradford Civic Society, Colin Fine from Bradford Playhouse, Eddie Lawler "the Bard of Saltaire" and author of the famous Bradford Beck song, and poet Laurence Lerner.

After criticism that the winner would not receive any payment, FOBB appealed for donations and is now able to pay £200. The group also hopes to put an exhibition together of all the entries, as well as publishing them on its website.

The stone markers are being funded by commercial sponsorship, with sponsors currently including Westfield, Bradford Live, Anchor Housing and Yorkshire Water.

Bradford Council is supporting the scheme and will be installing the carved stones and an information board in Tyrrel Street.

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Bradford Beck by Jane Callaghan 

On westerly moors 
Rise Chellow, Pinch, Pitty 
Energy once harnessed 
To power this wool city 
Goit and beck in parallel 
Power in, waste out 
Spectral Saxon elders 
Recall speckled trout
Disregarded water 
Here barrel-vault encased
In pure flow below Sunbridge 
Fish once chased 
Culverted, covered 
Lost underground, hidden
The clear sparkling beck 
Degraded to a midden 
Fouled by industry detritus 
Long ago so clean
Under our city lies
A misused, abused stream 
Though clean again
The beck stays always dark
Water sighs, eddies, races 
Unseen, unremarked 
So small a waterway 
For Bradford dale drained 
Beck fed the canal basin
Its miasma ill-famed
Skip across the broad ford 
-Bradford is named