We're very proud of carer Annette, first prize winner in her age category in the recent Heart of the Heatons Poetry and Flash Fiction competition. Entrants were asked to write a piece of poetry or flash fiction - no more than 500 words - on the theme of 'connection'. 

Annette is a regular at Carers Connect activities and a faithful attendee at the Creative Writing classes we have been running for the past year thanks to the leadership of voluntary writing teacher Jayne. As one of her prizes, Annette will be invited to be a Guest Judge for next year's competition! Here's her wonderful winning piece: 

The CONNECTION  by Annette Pickering

Something niggled in the back of Kate’s mind, ever since the letter had dropped through the door.

It was unusual to receive anything hand written these days. Everything was typed or emailed.

More unusual, it had a postage stamp with a Christmas design though now it was July.

The post mark revealed it had been posted in Yorkshire.

It was written in a mature hand, even and rounded. Just the same as Kate’s own writing, the way she had been taught in school so many years ago. Even more confusing was the lack of address in the top right hand corner. Just the word HALIFAX and no signature at the end, just “Love E”


Kate had no family. She had been brought up by her grandparents, now long gone.

During their life, when she asked about her parents, she was rebuffed and told “they were no better than they ought to be”..... Eventually Kate stopped asking.

Grandma was old and cantankerous. It had always seemed as though she resented Kate’s very existence. Frequently reminding her that her mother’s death was a purely selfish act. When she should have been enjoying her long awaited retirement.

Grandpa was different. He found it best to keep quiet, so avoiding the constant tirades of his wife.  He desperately missed his daughter and loved Kate so much it hurt. She was the only connection to his lost child. He tried his best to make up for his wife’s hatred with secret treats and the occasional discrete hug.

With both grandparents now dead, Kate had settled down. She had a good job and a small circle of friends.

As far as she was aware there were no other relatives, either here or in Halifax.

So who was ‘E’ and why had he or she contacted her now?

Today she would find out.

The letter had been brief and to the point. Asking her to meet at the entrance to the shopping precinct at midday on Saturday.

Kate, accompanied by her best friend Jo, sat on the bench by the telephone boxes.

They chatted in the warm summer sunshine. “Who do you think it is?” said Jo. “I’ve really no idea” replied Kate. “Grandma was reluctant to discuss mum, dad was never mentioned and I have no cousins.”

The square was busy. Families doing the weekly shop. Groups of teenage girls laughing as they showed one another their purchases ready for a night out.

So many people with tattoos. “What will they look like when they get old?” said Kate.

Jo laughed. “People are strange, look at that lady over there, she doesn’t look the sort to have tattoos, but she’s got a tiny butterfly on her shoulder.”

As Jo spoke, the lady turned round. “Oh my god Kate, she’s a mirror image of you.” 

“Hello Kathryn”

At long last Kate realised the connection and her story would soon be revealed.