The winners of the Little Did I Know 2020 competition have been announced!


Thank you so much to everyone who entered The Little Did I Know short story competition 2020. We were delighted to see such a large volume and high standard of entries.

Judges Adam Bushnell, Liz Million and Jessica Shepherd, who are all professional authors, have made their decision, and a big congratulations to this year's winners, nine-year-old Alisha Nelson in the primary age category, and Sally Sheridan, 13, in the secondary age category.

Alisha and Sally have won their own height in books, plus £500 of literacy equipment for their schools.

All of the entries we received were shortlisted by a team of volunteers from the Busy Readers scheme, run by Darlington Cares.

Well done to The Little Did I Know 2020 finalists;

  • Caitlyn Bygate, 10, from John Emmerson Batty Primary School, Redcar, with “Big Bamboo and the Strawberry Garden”.
  • Sanjana Vasireddy, 10, from Yarm School, with “A True Friend”.
  • Joshua Greenwell, 12, of St Francis Xavier School, Richmond, with “The Developer”
  • Valerie Fiamavle, of All Saints Academy, Ingleby Barwick, with “Life Will Continue To Go On”.

Videos of each of the finalists reading their stories can be found on Darlington Building Society’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.

About the Little Did I Know Story Competition 2020

The building society, with the support of The Northern Echo, launched the literary challenge last November following the success of an inaugural contest the previous year.

Children were invited to write a story of no more than 500 words, starting with the phrase “Little Did I Know…”

The competition was split into two age categories – primary and secondary – with the winners receiving their own height in books, plus £500 of literacy equipment for their schools.

The grand final was to be held at Theatre Hullabaloo, in Darlington, with the finalists reading their entries in front of a judging panel made up of professional authors Adam Bushnell, Liz Million, and Jessica Shepherd. Due to the lockdown, the final of the ‘Little Did I Know’ competition, organised by Darlington Building Society, was held online on Tuesday 12th May.

Andrew Craddock, Chief Executive of Darlington Building Society, said: “It wasn’t how we expected to announce the winners when we launched the competition, but huge thanks to everyone who entered, and to those who rose to the challenge of making the virtual final possible.

“The standard of entries was exceptional, and I know the judges had an extremely difficult task, but congratulations to Alisha and Sally for coming out on top.

“Darlington Building Society believes passionately in supporting education, and we hope the competition has helped to inspire lots of children to not only read books, but to want to write their own.”