Winning images and poems that capture the essence of Portsmouth revealed

The winners of the Imagine Portsmouth poetry and photography competition had been announced on the 2nd of December.

The Capture Portsmouth photo and poetry competition was run through the summer of 2021, following the launch of the new Imagine Portsmouth 2040 city vision in early 2021.

The purpose of the city vision is to collectively look forward to a positive future for Portsmouth in 2040. More than 2,500 people from across the city’s communities contributed to the development of the vision’s six aspirations for the future of Portsmouth, as well as a set of values that describe how living in the city will feel in the future.

The city vision is supported by major organisations and partnerships in the city, who have committed to help make the vision a reality through their strategies, plans and projects. The shared vision for Portsmouth in 2040 can be found at

Entrants to the photography competition were invited to submit entries inspired by the values and aspirations of the city vision. Overall, the winning photographs capture a sense of optimism for the city’s future, as well as being well composed and original. The photography competition was judged by three local photographers: Paul Gonella from Strong Island, Habibur Rahman from The News, and Chief Petty Officer Owen Cooban, photographic operations planner from the Royal Navy.

Paul Gonella said: “It has been wonderful seeing all the excellent submitted images showing how people view and wish to share their own personal and creative way of seeing their much-loved home city of Portsmouth. I can’t begin to imagine what incredible photos would be submitted if the year was 2040, but it excites the imagination and makes me optimistic for our city’s future.”

Cllr Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council and member of the Imagine Portsmouth partner board, said: “It has been great to see people engaging in a creative way with Portsmouth’s vision for 2040 through the poetry and photography competition, using their talent to convey a sense of optimism for the city’s future and to really bring the vision to life. I have been really impressed by the diversity of the entries and think the judges have selected very worthy winners.”

The winning images will be displayed on the Imagine Portsmouth website. The 11 winners are listed below and will receive a certificate and a £75 shopping voucher as a prize.

Entrants to the poetry competition were invited to submit entries inspired by the values and aspirations of the city vision. The poems were judged by local poets, Amanda Garrie and Maggie Sawkins, and by Alison Habens, from Portsmouth University.

The judges selected two winning poems in the 18 and over category, and one winning poem in the children and young people category. The judges also selected two poems as highly commended. The winning poems will be displayed on the Imagine Portsmouth website, and the winners will receive certificates and £75 shopping vouchers.

Photography competition winners

Healthy and Happy

Winner: Jack Courtney

Culture and Creativity

Winner: Eleni Ledwick

Thriving Economy

Winner: Neil Campbell

Lifelong Learning

Winner: Patricia McCardle

Easy Travel

Winner: Sean Finch

Green City

Winner: Luiza Khisamutdinova


Winner: Angelica Ventrella


Winner: Jake Davies


Winner: Sarah O’Leary


Winner: Jake Davies


Winner: Jake Davies

Poetry competition winners

18 and over category

Poem title: Portsea Island

Winner: Jane Olive

The judges described the poem as:

“Clever wordplay, original and effective concept.” Alison Habens

“Interesting villanelle, and the premise of layers works well throughout. I particularly like the line ‘pull a cord round the city pull tight to the bone – it says so much.” Amanda Garrie

“Well-crafted and original villanelle. With interesting imagery and diction, the poem intertwines the people of Portsmouth with the environment. Subject fits the circular form very well.” Maggie Sawkins

Poem title: A Rap for Portsmouth

Winner: Suzanne Puntis

The judges described the poem as:

“An epic achievement’ Alison Habens

“Lively, colourful, good sense of rhythm, teeming with detail and passion. Embraces past, present and vision for the future. Definitely fits the brief.” Maggie Sawkins

“This poem has 2040 at its heart. It picks up on concerns we have now and pushes them forward. There is also a good sense of place and pace.” Amanda Garrie

The judges also selected two poems from the 18 and over category as highly commended.

Highly commended

Poem title: Spice Island looking back

Winner: Richard Williams

The judges described the poem as:

“The movement back through Portsmouth’s history is extremely well done. The cadence is well crafted, too” Amanda Garrie

“I like this ‘reverse timeline’ of sweet and accurate epilogues” Alison Habens

Poem title: My Sweet Portsmouth

Winner: Daniel Burdfield

The judges described the poem as:

“Well crafted, good grasp of rhythm and rhyme and very positive about Portsmouth. Feels genuine.” Maggie Sawkins

“I like the sentiment in this one and its simplicity. A little cliched in places, but phrases like ‘meander into dock’ lift it again. You get a real sense of the place and its diversity, as well as the poet’s adopted place within it.” Amanda Garrie

Under 18


Poem title: Prose poem – untitled

Winner: Mohamed Helal

The judges described the poem as:

“Great poem. Lively, imaginative and dramatic point of view. Meets the brief as it is set in the future. I loved the ‘glitter bomb of glory’ image.” Maggie Sawkins