THE UK’s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, has been in Spain to pick up a butt of sherry.

The poet, playwright and novelist, appointed last year, was in Jerez to keep up a long standing tradition.

Poet laureates have been gifted a butt of sherry – or in this case 720 bottles – on their appointment since the 17th century.

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So Yorkshireman Armitage made the trip to Andalucia to pick up his wine.

He said: “I hope to put the bottles to good use as gifts and prizes to raise money in the name of poetry, which is now needed more than ever before. My wife drew the image of the cuckoo on the front label.

“The bird has a folklore connection with the village of Marsden where I grew up and where so many of my poems are rooted. My dialect poem, The Phoenix, appears on the reverse of the label and tells a version of the Marsden cuckoo story. There’s an annual Cuckoo Festival in the village, perhaps some sherry will be involved in forthcoming years and become part of the tradition itself!”

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