Radio 2 500 Words silver award won by Woking schoolgirl

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Lucille Barrett
Lucille Barrett
Future teen idol. Hardcore tv lover. Social media guru. Zombie aficionado. Travel scholar. Biker, shiba-inu lover, audiophile, Mad Men fan and proud pixelpusher. Working at the junction of minimalism and elegance to answer design problems with honest solutions. I'm fueled by craft beer, hip-hop and tortilla chips.

A child wordsmith staked her claim to be the next HG Wells after winning a silver award at the BBC Radio 2 500 Words ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe on Friday morning.

Katie Denyer, nine and from Woking, finished second in the 5-9 age category of the competition, which encourages children to write a fiction no longer than 500 words.

The 123,436 entries were judged by a panel including honorary judge Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall – who presented the gold awards – and award-winning and best-selling authors Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and Francesca Simon.

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As a reward, Katie’s piece was read out on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show by Lord of the Rings actor Andy Serkis.


Mr. Cottrell-Boyce said: “We loved Dirty Gerty and Messy Bessy. Their lust for life and sense of adventure was matched only by the swaggering self-confidence of Katie’s storytelling.

“We loved her eye for detail and character, the pink Teacake rocket, but most of all, we loved the knitted parachutes.”

Other guest narrators included Julie Walters, Tom Hiddleston, Warwick Davis, Nick Jonas, and Raleigh Ritchie, as the BBC marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by presenting from the Globe.

OneRepublic, All Saints, and Foxes performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Community Gospel Choir.

Evans said: “Once again, the children of the UK have proved that they are amazing wordsmiths.

“It’s been such a treat to hear the finalists’ stories brought to life by our very special guest narrators.

“Keep those imaginations flowing – I absolutely cannot wait for next year.”

A short time ago, in a town far, far away (Grimsby actually), there were two Grannies.

Let me introduce you to Gertrude. everyone called her “Dirty Gerty” because every Saturday, she would do Parkruns and always made a special effort to run through muddy puddles. Gerty had a friend called Bessie who always managed to spill her chocolate milkshakes down her blouse, so everyone called her “Messy Bessie.”

Gerty and Bessie lived in a residential home in Grimsby and were bored. They yearned for adventure and exotic places. Yes, I know what you are thinking….. Blackpool…. but NO. They’d already been there, and it rained all day. Somewhere new and exciting was needed.

There was a BBC program about space, and that nice Professor Brian Cox was on it. Bessie quite fancied Brian Cox. Gerty much preferred George Clooney. Professor Cox talked about the International Space Station and traveling to the moon. The old ladies looked at each other with wide eyes… they knew where to go.

“Why don’t we go to the Moon?” they said.

“How will we get there?” asked Bessie.

“In a rocket, of course,” replied Gerty. So they built one. They went to all the hardware stores and got everything they needed. All night they nailed, stapled, glued, hammered, and painted. The rocket was magnificent – 20 feet tall, bright pink, and powered by fireworks (rockets, of course, not bangers or sparklers). Bessie wanted to call it “Brian,” but Gerty preferred “George.” They finally agreed on “Teacake” as they both liked teacakes.

The day of the launch arrived, and the ladies packed their essential supplies. They had a detailed checklist: Jaffa cakes, tea, spectacles, torches, and mint imperials. They were ready. The ladies were scared during lift-off. It was so loud it woke Mr. Jones, who was dozing in the care home.

Finally, they were in space, hurtling towards the moon. How fantastic … they were going past the International Space Station. Onboard the station, Major Tim Peake looked out the window while brushing his teeth.

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