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20th February 2019
Two young authors have written their own happy ending after winning a children’s short story competition.
Morgan Murphy, 10, and Ben Rogers, 13, were the winners of the inaugural “Little Did I Know” competition organised by Darlington Building Society.
The competition, in partnership with The Northern Echo and TFM Radio, attracted nearly 300 entries, with children asked to write a story of no more than 500 words, starting with the phrase “Little Did I Know”.
Morgan, of Skerne Park School in Darlington, won the primary section and Ben, of All Saints Academy in Ingleby Barwick, came out top in the secondary competition.
Each won £500 worth of books for their school libraries as well as their own height in books for themselves. As part of the prize, their stories will also be published in The Northern Echo and featured on TFM Radio. They were also promised a “magical mystery ride” which will be a family trip courtesy of the stunning North York Moors Railway.
Morgan’s evocative story was about a captured elephant while Ben’s wrote a poignant account of how a boy was inspired to Olympic glory by the death of his mother.
The judges were Paddington bear animator Sheila Graber, and celebrated illustrators and authors Liz Million, from Darlington, and Jessica Shepherd, from Barnard Castle.
Sheila, who lives in South Shields, said: “I loved reading these magical stories. Well done to everyone – and keep writing!”
Certificates were presented by the chief executive of Darlington Building Society, Andrew Craddock, who said: “The quality of the writing was really impressive and the stories incredibly moving in different ways. With so many entries, those who reached the final deserve huge congratulations.”
The primary runners-up were Maria Wilkinson, seven, of Highcliffe Primary School, Guisborough, and Alfie Seymour, seven, of Woodland Primary School, Bishop Auckland. Secondary runners-up were Harvey Jackson-May, 11, and Kayden Robinson, 12, both of All Saints Academy in Ingleby Barwick.
Guest of honour at the final was Councillor Cyndi Hughes, Darlington Borough Council’s portfolio holder for children and young people, who said she was “deeply impressed” by the depth of talent on show.