Read the winning entries of our contest for young writers

Madeleine Lear (far left) and Katie Smith (far right) with Advertiser deputy editor Peter Ormerod and Bill Fielding of Rugby Rotary Club
Madeleine Lear (far left) and Katie Smith (far right) with Advertiser deputy editor Peter Ormerod and Bill Fielding of Rugby Rotary Club

Two inspiring young writers have won awards in a competition held by the three Rotary Clubs of Rugby.

The Rugby Advertiser joined forces with the clubs to find the best writers in Rugby to showcase their talent.

The winners were Katie Smith, 13, who attends Avon Valley School and Madeleine Lear, nine, who attends Bilton Junior. They were asked to write a 500-word story in prose entitled “What a different that made to my life/their lives.”

Katie said: “I was really surprised when I heard I’d won my category. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I hope to carry on with it.”

Madeleine hopes to be a famous writer one day.

“It would be great to win the district competition,” she said.

“I love writing and I was really pleased to win.”

Entries were judged by Advertiser editor Chris Lillington, Andrew Fletcher, head of English at Rugby School and Laurence Tilley from the Rugby Writers’ Guild.

The winning entries in each age group - plus runners-up if they are judged to be good enough - will be entered in the district competition.

Bill Fielding, from Rugby Rotary Club, said: “The standard of entries was very high but luckily we all agreed on who the winners should be.”

In addition to the honour of the title, each girl was presented with £25.

Here are the girls’ stories in full:

What a difference that made to my life - by Madeleine Lear, 9

Bilton Junior School

It started with tears. I opened my eyes for the first time and tall, pale devastated faces surrounded me. Around my body frozen arms lay. I stared up at the lifeless face above me. A man fell to the bedside whispering words of hope and faith and every so often mentioning a pretty name. The name was Melrose. I did not understand then why that name was being cried like that, but that was long ago.

“Melrose. I told you 6am sharp. But here you are, lazing around. You have Ms Lanshure coming round in three hours’ time and you know she doesn’t like late risers. Now show some respect and get up.” The next thing I heard was my bedroom door slamming shut, making a large bang after heavy footsteps stamped out of my dingy room. I yawned a little before throwing my bedcovers off my bed. A while later I clambered out of my cosy, comfortable bed. Plodding slowly down the stairs I heard the kettle boil and then make a high-pitched noise.

“Here goes another day” I exclaimed in a very upset voice. I did my usual morning routine before saying ‘bye’ to my dad and going to the conservatory and reaching up for the special box on top of the wooden rack. I took a deep breach and box opened!

I always felt as it I was in my own little world when I opened this box. I shut my eyes tight and imagined what it felt like to be back at the hospital ten years ago with those round faces full of silver droplets. My heart longed to know who Melrose was and why I have the same name and why everyone was so dismal. My thoughts were interrupted by a cheery voice ‘Hallo! Is my favourite child here? Melrose come out, come out wherever you are. Oh! Hallo. There you are. I am delighted to see you again. How are you my dear? Come on. Let’s go have some fun, shouldn’t we?” This whirlwind of a woman triumphantly burst into the once quiet room of thoughts. I was lost for words, so, as my mind was trying to catch up I stuttered “ you mind repeating that?” “Well, child, I said...”

“Never mind.” I was actually just being polite when I asked her that. I didn’t really want her to repeat it. Then I wondered “Maybe I could ask her. Yes!” “Ms Lanshure, could you possibly tell me this? When I was a small child I remember this. Devastated people stood around me and I was in the arms of a woman called Melrose. I have never seen her since. But every day before my birthday dad goes out and you come. What is it all about?” Ms Lanshure stood still and took this under consideration. She paused and then spoke. “When you were just a wee lassy, in fact, you were in your mummy’s tummy, your mummy was very ill. The day before she had you she died so it was hard getting you out but luckily we saved you. To remember your mother we named you after her. Your father goes out every 14th March to place flowers on your mother’s grave as that was the day she died. I was asked to look after you as I was a close friend of your mother’s.”

“Thank you!” I exclaimed. I then gave her the largest hug ever before rushing outside and running all the way to the cemetery. There I found my dad. “Daddy” I know whey you have been so miserable all these 10 years. Mummy passed away, but now I know, we can go through the pain together and never have to live the way we have been living.” I threw my arms around him and I don’t think he had smiled more ever before. The next day I had the happiest birthday ever and I was delighted.

What a difference that made to my life - by Katie Smith, 13

Avon Valley School

I’d seen him around, his long black hair always hanging over his blue eyes, hiding any secrets they may have held. I never thought anything of him, he was just another person living his own life with his own family, ambitions, hopes and disappointments.

One thing I’d noticed was how he always wore the same clothes. He would always sit back on the same bench next to a small pond.

Whenever you passed, he would be there. Never speaking, just listening to others’ conversations, as if picking through them and learning everyone’s weaknesses, just by how they stumble over words or speak while talking about certain subjects.

After seeing him sitting there for months, it’s obvious why I’d be curious as to why on this one day he’s missing.

It was almost a comfort having him there, like the scenery isn’t complete without his presence. As I walked past his usual bench, I decided to sit. I’d seen this man for months now, it just seemed polite to make conversation and get to know him. Whilst waiting for his return I stared into the pool of abnormally clear water, my eyes lingering on the gentle ripples caused by the late spring breeze. My mind wandered to its own place, allowing random thoughts to enter my head. I softly kicked the ground and watched the small cloud of dust rise and then settle again, causing a few small insects to scatter. Slowly, I leaned back, causing the bench to faintly squeak. My head fell. I began to watch the strange clouds move above me. A small while passed and I began to feel my now heavy eyelids fall. It was impossible for me to fight the new wave of fatigue.

Black. That’s all I saw. It was...strange to say the least. I could hear every last subconscious thought as it whizzed around my brain. I don’t know how long I was asleep for, or what had caused me to suddenly fall into the slumber.

I awoke with a start. Rain had started to fall from the now grey sky. I stretched and looked at my watch, 3:26. I’d been asleep for two hours.

I’d forgotten about the mysterious man and began to stand only to find that I couldn’t. I was restrained to this one bench. I fought against the invisible grips that held me down. They seemed to grow tighter the more I tried to escape.

I’ve been sitting here for three months. I haven’t felt any emotions. I have no natural needs. I don’t need food, water, anything. Everyone passes without giving me a second glance, just as they did to the nameless man before.

I had become part of the scenery, not noticed by anyone. Maybe this was the man’s plan. Maybe he wanted someone to take over from him. All I know is that this has changed my life, and not for the better.