THE former principal of Stourbridge's top King Edward VI College has been highly commended in a prestigious poetry competition.

Only ten highly commended awards were made in the poetry section of this year’s Bridport Prize international creative writing competition, which attracted nearly 4,000 entries in total.

Among them was Sharon Phillips’ poem, Epiphany, which judge Hollie McNish praised for its "momentary and mindful nature".

Ms Phillips, who recently moved to Otley in West Yorkshire, began writing poems a few years ago after retiring from King Edward's in Lower High Street in 2015 after around seven years at the helm as the historic college's first female principal.

She told the News: "I got into poetry pretty much by accident: soon after retirement I did a creative writing course, as I thought that would be a real contrast to the more analytical skills required of a college principal. I thought I'd write short stories or a novel but it was poetry that engaged me most."

Since discovering her talent for writing she has had more than 60 poems published online and in print and shortlisted for a number of prizes.

Ms Phillips, a former deputy chief executive at Halesowen College, also won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018.