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North-east family united through love of Doric win poetry prize

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A north-east mum who loves Doric so much that she only speaks English “when she has to” has won a competition aimed at keeping the traditional tongue alive.

Ann Richard teamed with her daughters to triumph in the Charles Murray Poetry Competition.

The contest, named after the Alford-born poet praised for bringing the dialect into the world of literature, was formed in 2014 as a way of marking the 150th anniversary of his birth.

The challenge strives to unite families through a shared appreciation of Doric, and the only rule is that poems must be penned by two or more generations of the same family.

Mrs Richard, 65, completed her effort alongside her girls Laura, 39, and Alison, 36.

Mrs Richard said: “I speak Doric all the time, and don’t want us to lose this language.

“I only speak English when I have to, this is our family’s native tongue.”

Their comical poem, “Fan Santy got stuck i’ the lum”, depicts Santa Claus as a Doric speaker who ends up “wedged heid-first” in a chimney.

It describes his reindeer as “stood fell glaikit like”, before pulling Father Christmas from the predicament – causing him to land “wi a dunt on ees doup amon the sna”.

Mrs Richard stays near Aberlour and her daughters live in Craigellachie and Dufftown.

They will receive their trophy in June, when they recite the poem as part of a music festival in Keith.

Isla and Heidi Wilson, from Keith, came second with a topical poem named Brexit.

Third place was shared between Madeline and Majella Morrison, from Mintlaw, and Lesley and Luisa Watt, from Newmill.

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