An 11-year-old boy from Stevenage has been named the regional winner of a national competition which saw more than 25,000 children enter.

Juan Perea Smith is a pupil at Peartree Spring Primary School and is the East of England winner of the Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition with his poem Resilient.

The competition is open to all primary school children across England and Wales and this year asked for original works of poetry themed around the value of resilience.

From the 25,200 poems received, nine regional winners and one national winner have been selected across two age groups – Key Stage 1, which is five to seven years old, and Key Stage 2, which is seven to 11 years old. The poems were judged on their originality, effect, tone and message.

Juan’s poem was picked as the East of England regional winner in the Key Stage 2 age group by a judging panel which included former professional footballer Frank Lampard OBE, Premier League player Yannick Bolasie, Children’s laureate Lauren Child and young people’s laureate for London Caleb Femi.

Lauren said: “Juan wrote a really clever acrostic poem. I just like the simplicity of it. It just really has heart to it and it feels like he meant every word.

“Well done to Juan for entering the competition and trying, because he’s succeeded.”

Juan said: “I’m really surprised, I never thought I would be a winner. I just tried my best.”

Juan has been presented with a framed version of his poem by his school teacher and has read his poem to his class.

The winning poems will now be published in a limited edition Writing Stars poetry book, which is due to be released later this year.

Frank Lampard said: “It’s been very tough to pick winners when it’s such a high standard.

“It’s been a great competition and we’ve seen a lot of quality.

“Congratulations to everybody who took part.”

Premier League Writing Stars is part of the education programme Premier League Primary Stars, which offers free curriculum-linked teaching resources and in-school support, and the poetry competition is aimed at encouraging creative writing in young children.

For more information about Premier League Primary Stars, visit