A countywide competition in which children were invited to write about their chosen heroes has culminated in a glittering awards ceremony.
The Kent Big Writing Challenge was organised and promoted by KCC’s Reconnect programme in conjunction with the KM Charity Team.
Award-winning children’s author Nick Butterworth, the man behind the Percy the Park Keeper books, was among the guests attending the awards event at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge where winners received a framed certificate and a commemorative book. The overall champions were presented with a specially designed glass trophy.
The competition was open to children and young people who live or go to school in Kent and was divided into three different age categories: key stage 1 (years one and two primary), key stage 2 (years three-six, primary) and key stages 3 and 4 (years seven to 11, secondary).
All category winners received a framed certificate and a printed book that included all the winning entries and their drawings, while the overall winners received a specially designed glass trophy.
The Key Stage One winner was Mae Harling of Shoreham Village School, Sevenoaks, who chose her cousin Evie as her hero. The Key Stage Two winner was Lucy Hartridge of Sandling Primary School, Maidstone, whose hero was Olympic skateboarder Sky Brown. The Key Stage Three and Four winner was Heela Habib of Valley Park School, Maidstone, who wrote about Allah as her hero.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Shellina Prendergast, said: “I wanted as many Kent children as possible take up this challenge and I was delighted by the response and bv the quality of so many entries.
“The competition was aimed at encouraging a positive relationship with literacy and is the chance to demonstrate children’s creativity, and I am sure it has achieved those aims.
“I hope this will become an annual creative writing competition for children and young people.”
KM Charity Team CEO Mike Ward said: “This was the first time we have delivered Kent’s Big Writing Challenge and we are very grateful for the support of the KCC Reconnect Programme for funding it.
“The hardest part was choosing the winners. The best part was the sheer diversity of who our young people see as heroes. There were lots of mums and dads, key workers – including a Tesco security guard who made one of our winners smile.
“We really hope to deliver this again next year and so are working hard to secure sponsorship as the outcomes have been so important to so many children and young people.”
THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS
KEY STAGE ONE
Mae Harling from Shoreham Village School, Sevenoaks; Peter Kelly from Hunton School; Elmira Williams from Kingsnorth Primary School; Keira Barnden from the Oaks Community Infant School, Swale; Amiyah McKenzie from Herne Infant School; Molly Bowler from Herne Infant School; Joshua King from Sandling Primary School, Maidstone; Olivia Barton from the Oaks Community Infant School, Swale; Arabella Beattie from Challock Primary School; Arslan Kabilov from Hextable Primary School; and Ruby Wilson from Kingsnorth Primary School.
KEY STAGE TWO
Thomas Norris from Challock Primary, Ashford; Seth Player from St John’s CEP School, Canterbury; Lucy Hartridge from Sandling Primary School, Maidstone; Grace Harris from Woodlands Primary School, Tonbridge; Dylan Rhodes from Ethelbert Road Primary School, Canterbury; Claudia Whitman from St Margaret’s at Cliffe Primary School, Dover; Lydia Heslop from St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Hythe; Inara Nijjer from Culverstone Green Primary School, Gravesham
Hazel O’Hara from Hextable Primary School; Poppy Milton from St John’s Primary School, Sevenoaks; Charlie Butcher from Chartfield School, Thanet; Edie Hendley from Paddock Wood Primary Academy; and Zachary Highfield from St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Swale.
KEY STAGES THREE AND FOUR
Bert Davis from Valley Park School, Maidstone; Chloe Asia Russell from Dover College; Heela Habib from Valley Park School, Maidstone; Isaac Differ-Mote from Cross Keys Learning, Thanet; Isabella Hirlemann-Garcia from St Anselm’s Catholic School, Canterbury; Jashwiny Selvarajan from Wilmington Academy, Dartford; Lawrence Johnson from St George’s Foundation School, Thanet; Ria Nair from Tonbridge Grammar School; Shakira Weeks from the Sittingbourne School; William Featherstone from Valley Park School, Maidstone; and Joe Fairclough from Dover College.
The Reconnect programme funded the competition while the KM Charity Team managed the logistics including creating the webpage and submission portal, sorting the judging panel and process and organising the awards event.
KCC’s Reconnect programme was created in April 2021 to try to reconnect children and young people with activities and opportunities they had missed during the Covid-19 pandemic.