Santas in need of assistance, adventures with elves, amusing penguins and fiery snow dragons: we certainly unleashed some amazing imaginations when we launched the first Caterham & District Independent Children’s Festive Writing Competition earlier this year.
And what a response we had: over 100 submissions! Along with stories and poems we also received fascinating facts, an illuminating interview with some responsible reindeer and vivid accounts of Christmas traditions that made us want mugs of hot chocolate and walks in the snow!
The high standard of the entries made choosing a winner extremely difficult, but after long deliberations the competition judges agreed that one story stood out. 8 year-old Akash’s ‘The Journey of a Christmas Tree’ gave a wonderfully descriptive account of the experiences of a spruce tree, from being planted right through to its return to the earth. We loved that Akash had carefully considered the tree’s complete lifecycle, and how beautifully observed its adventure was.
On Wednesday 25th November, editor Louise and I visited Oakhyrst Grange, meeting with Akash and Elisabeth Leyshon, the school’s English Coordinator. We presented Akash with his certificate and prizes and asked him how he had felt when he found out he had won:
“I was happy and excited, and my friends were excited for me too. My Mum and Dad told me that they were proud of me!”
Akash also explained how he had come up with the idea for his story:
“Every year I go to the garden centre with my family and I see the Christmas trees piled up there. It makes me think about where they come from and what happens to them.”
Akash’s story will appear in January’s paper, as well as featuring on our social media and podcast later this month. We will also give details of our worthy runners-up!