TEN-year-old Joseph Walker had pride of place when he helped cut a ribbon to officially open the new £2 million sea defence scheme at Newton's Cove in Weymouth.

The Wyke Regis Junior School pupil earned the right to join Weymouth and Portland Mayor Coun Doug Hollings at the opening ceremony by winning a competition to write an inspirational poem about the area.

Engineers and council officials chose him because of his superb poem entitled The Spirit of Newton's Cove.

Joseph said: "I just thought it up. It was completely my own idea and I had no help. I didn't know if I would get chosen and I was quite surprised when I was told I had won it.

"I like writing and I have another poem I am writing at the moment called Winter's Breath, but it is not finished yet."

The sea defence project took three years to plan and build using 5,000 tonnes of concrete and 1,600 tonnes of rock.

A commemorative bronze plaque set into the viewing area of the promenade was also unveiled at the opening giving facts about the event including Joseph's details and those of his school.

Mr Hollings said: "It has turned out to be one of those exemplary projects which has come in within budget.

"It is calm today but it can be pretty ferocious and I am sure that residents will appreciate being protected from erosion for many years to come."

Deputy Mayor Coun Lynne Herbert said: "There is a nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest and the new sea defence will help to protect that and up to 30 homes and a range of walkways as well as one side of the Nothe Gardens.

"It is also nice that the defence steps allow access to the beach and its rock pools which are so enjoyed by residents and local school


Environmental services director Richard Burgess said the sea defence was an outstanding project in terms of quality and finish.

He added: "It has transformed a lesser backwater into a superb new public amenity."

The Spirit of Newton's Cove

You are the spirit of Newton's Cove

We do not know of all the secrets you hold.

The wrecks you've sunk on ravenous seas

The chests you have with trinkets and gold.

On still calm days you flow as you please

You wail and crash on a stormy night

The fear of your strength brings me down to my knees

As you push over pebbles with all your might.

This creation we've built to stop your attack

Is a walk way of concrete and stone

It helps to control you and hold you back

When you moan and groan

When you're sad and alone.

You're emerald green and blue shimmering light

Though the fort is growing older you still crash on.

You shine light blue with all your might.

You are the spirit of Newton's Cove.

Joseph Walker, 10

Wyke Regis Junior School