Alice Wollocombe, a student at The Norwich School, joined the National Centre for Writing team as a Young Ambassador in 2017. She was a special guest at the Topping Out Ceremony for the National Centre for Writing on Monday 18 June.
From the moment I walked through the doors of Dragon Hall, it was clear that this was a special place. The Topping Out Ceremony, to celebrate the re-opening of this historic venue as the first National Centre for Writing, felt like a welcoming and a homecoming to the literary world. As a new member of the Young Ambassadors branch of the Centre, it was an honour to be a part of such a remarkable event. However, more importantly, as a young person with a particular interest in the creative and artistic world, I was inspired and elated by the reality of such a breathtaking and welcoming space. In particular, the new Education Space – bringing a modern and accessible feel – presents the potential for educational enrichment and growth, and offers the prospect for a functioning, animated and creative space for young people to meet, work and be inspired.
A series of speeches and thanks from Chris Gribble (NCW Chief Executive), David Gilbert (NCW Chair of the Board) and numerous others demonstrated the sheer volume of work and planning that went into creating this incredible facility. However, personally, the highlight was Luke Wright’s inaugural reading of his moving poem ‘Here’ which was commissioned for the opening. This performance embodied the Centre’s ambition to nurture aspiring writers and poets to follow their passion for the written word. Initially supported and advised by the Centre, Luke is now a flourishing and successful poet. It is to be hoped that now the Centre has opened on a national scale it can encourage and assist many more writers on a much wider basis.
This astonishing project has clearly been a labour of love and thanks are due to the many people who have supported and donated to this cause. Finally, after six years of planning and hard work, the National Centre for Writing can now open its doors.