A prize essay competition has been launched to commemorate former MP Walter Harrison, who died last year.
The MP, who started his political career as a Castleford borough councillor and alderman and prominent trade union offical, before being elected MP for Wakefield in 1964.
The Walter Harrison Memorial Trust prize essay competition, for an essay on a political subject, will be open to young people aged 15 to 19 living in the Wakefield district, who attend any publicly funded school or college.
Its patrons include Mr Harrison’s son Bob, former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe, current Wakefield MP Mary Creagh and retired speaker of the House of Commons Baroness Betty Boothroyd.
As deputy chief whip in the Labour minority government, Mr Harrison played a central role in the political dramas of the late 1970s, which is celebrated in the National Theatre production Our House, which will be screened live at cinemas across the country, including Cineworld Wakefield, on Thursday May 16.
Mr Harrison and Mr Hinchliffe launched the memorial essay last week at Cineworld Wakefield. Mr Harrison said: “The whole family is very pleased and proud about this award. My father had a life-long commitment to encouraging young people in politics and we wish this project every success.”
Mr Hinchliffe said: “At a time when political apathy so often leads to increasingly low turnouts at elections, any attempt to encourage young people to understand the importance of politics is to be very much welcomed.
“Walter played a major part in encouraging my lifelong interest in politics. I hope the establishment of the Trust in his memory will have a similar impact on future generations of younger people.”
The competition judges include Featherstone writer Ian Clayton and former Rothwell and Elmet MP Colin Burgon. Mr Clayton said: “I am thrilled and proud to be involved with this excting venture. It’s great to know that young people with political voices are going to be heard for a change.”
Visit www.walterharrisonmemorialtrust.wordpress.com or follow @whmemorialtrust on Twitter to find out more.