Children bring their communities to life in print

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Youngsters put pens to paper to talk about their community.

Children from across Washington took part in a storytelling competition intended to help bring their communities to life in print.

The event, organised by Washington Rotary Club, brought several primary schools together to vie for prizes.

Club president Neil McOnie said there was a great response to the competition, given the theme of lighting up the community.

He said: “Many of the Washington primary schools took part. There were more than 100 entries, and these were read by panel of judges, who selected the winner.”

The overall winner was Abigail McNeil, of Sulgrave’s Usworth Colliery Primary School, and the four runners-up were Biddick Primary’s Emma High and Charlotte Chamberlain, Lily Daly, of John F Kennedy Primary in Columbia, and Kaudi Keoperazyk, of Usworth Colliery Primary.

Abigail won £75 for herself and £75 for the Manor Road school, and the runners-up all got £25 for themselves and £25 for their schools.

Mr McOnie, along with Rotarian Derek Freeman, the competition’s organiser, went along to each of the schools to present the prizes and certificates to everyone who took part.

Carolyn Nicol, a literacy leader at Usworth Colliery Primary, said: “It was aimed at encouraging children to use their writing skills and their imagination and creativity.

“We are thrilled that two of our children won awards.”

The children chose a wide range of topics to write about in the competition, including food parcels for those in need, volunteering for good causes, reducing pollution and even picking up dog dirt.

The club is now hoping to make the competition an annual event.

At John F Kennedy Primary, Mr McOnie was presented with a cheque for £470 by deputy headteacher Karl Ellerbrook.

The money was raised by holding a dress-down day in aid of the club’s shelterbox appeal.

Neil had previously visited the school to talk to the children about the Nepal earthquake appeal and how shelterboxes are helping the people there who have lost their homes.

Shelterboxes provides emergency shelter and vital supplies to support communities overwhelmed by disasters or humanitarian crises.

For information, visit www.shelterbox.org