An autistic youngster has reached the final judging stages of CREATE! Art for Autism, a UK-wide competition for young people.

Barnaby Harrison, 13, from Southlands High School in Chorley, is one of 41 finalists whittled down from 810 entries across five categories.

Barnaby’s entry, Dead Of The War, is a finalist in the poetry category.

CREATE! Art for Autism is a competition for young people aged between 11 and 25 with an autistic spectrum condition or Asperger’s Syndrome, and was set up to showcase the creative capabilities of autism sufferers.

President of the National Autistic Society and competition judge, Jane Asher, said: “This is the third year of CREATE! Art for Autism and the standard just gets better and better.

“It’s so difficult to judge these tremendous pieces of work against each other, but we are here to find winners, and are very pleased with the selection we’ve made.

“It’s truly inspirational to see how much creativity oozes out of these autistic young people, and enabling them to express themselves through art makes this competition such a worthwhile project.”

The competition has attracted the support of some well-known sporting names, including the British and Irish Lions captain, Sam Warburton, who said: “This competition is a fantastic way for autistic youngsters to express themselves and to see how creative they can be.”

All shortlisted finalists will be displayed at an awards ceremony on July 19 at Beechwood College, in the Vale of Glamorgan, which is part of organiser Ludlow Orbis Group.

Group director of education services, Darren Jackson said: “Once again the art and poetry we received from autistic youngsters through CREATE! is a passionate, expressive and creative take on their view of the world.”

Barnaby's Poem

The dead of the war stand in gloom.
A scarlet tinge for the muted room,
people beaten by tools of war stand together, forgotten in law.
Anxiety and anger purge my heart, this beats to the soldiers’ steady march.
‘Into battle we must go’ our General shouted, we moaned and groaned,
my conscience took me by the hand or cowardice, I turn and ran...

Murdered by our former friends
Comrades’ lives now loose ends,
a shell amiss, an ‘honourable’ death
The recollection of quickened breaths.
The flicker book of Sunday's past,
a life that was meant to last...