Ledley King and Janache John-Baptiste turn on Tottenham Christmas lights

Haringey Independent: Janache John-Baptiste, Ledley King and Coucillor Alan Strickland at the Christmas market in Tottenham Janache John-Baptiste, Ledley King and Coucillor Alan Strickland at the Christmas market in Tottenham

Crowds were taken to rhyming heaven when former football star Ledley King and Haringey’s first young poet laureate turned on Tottenham’s Christmas lights.

Janache John-Baptiste, 16, was announced as the winner of Haringey Borough Council’s competition to find the lyrical voice of the borough’s teenagers on Saturday.

The 16-year-old collected his trophy and performed his winning poem ‘This Is My Home’ before joining the former England player turn on the lights in Tottenham Green.

Janache attends Gladesmore Community School and lives on the Ferry Lane estate.

He said: “It’s a big achievement for me because I don’t usually win things.

“Now my voice can be heard and I get to say how I see life in Tottenham – so it’s a big thing.”

The teenager took home a host of prizes – including £150 from the Newlon Housing Trust and a behind the scenes tour of White Hart Lane.

He will also be commissioned to write poems for special events throughout 2014.

A Christmas market also took place on Tottenham Green on Saturday and Janache’s fellow Gladesmore pupils and a DJ entertained people with a live music performances.

The 16-year-old’s winning poem can be read below.

This Is My Home

Tottenham is where I’ve lived all my life
where I learned to love, laugh, live and cry.
A place where the worst stereotypes emerge.

But this is the place where I live.
A place with a negative image, but we can’t hate it
because the word  tOttEnHaM
does have HOME in it.

I mean home is us, we’re the heart
and nothing can change this,
you can see it on the faces of those who walk on the pedestrian paving,
we are people confined to our pavements, our blocks, our bits,
I mean there’s many ways to say it,
we are beautiful creatures with owners who refuse to let us out of our cages.

That’s why we stop believing,
we are the heart  and without a heart in a body,
the body will stop breathing.

And as a body of people we must blossom,
because this is our home, our community, this is my home…
Tottenham.

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