A seven-year-old girl’s heartwarming tale saw her named the first-ever Falkirk Herald Young Writer.
Emily Graham, a P3 pupil at St Francis Primary, took the overall prize in the inaugural event which had invited entries from schoolchildren across the district.
Youngsters aged from five to 16 were urged to produce a piece of creative writing in any format they wished with the only condition that it must include a reference to Falkirk’s latest landmark, the Kelpies.
Andy Scott’s two iconic sculptures of horse heads certainly fuelled the imagination and around 2000 entries were received.
The judges, who included Falkirk Herald staff and members of Falkirk Council’s education services, then had the difficult task of selecting the winners.
After a lot of reading and burning the midnight oil, the top three in each age group were selected before the tough task of picking an overall winner.
Colin Hume, Falkirk Herald editor, said: “We were delighted with the response and it was very encouraging to see the high standard of entries being produced by our youngest readers.
“The all have very vivid imaginations and it was interesting to see how they incorporated the Kelpies into their work. Such was the enthusiasm and standard of entries that we hope to make this an annual event.”
Prizes were handed over at a short ceremony in Falkirk’s Trinity Church last Thursday, where the winners were all presented with certificates and books, courtesy of The Scottish Book Trust.
The winners, their families and invited guests were entertained by members of St Andrew’s Primary School’s Glee Club who performed three songs.
Emily’s winning entry, which told of buried treasure under the Kelpies, was then read out before she was presented with her certificate and £50 of gift vouchers.
The youngster, who lives in Windsor Road, Falkirk, was accompanied by members of her proud family, including mum Eve, brother Glen (13), grandmother, aunt and uncle, and her teacher, Margaret Priest.
Admitting she was surprised to be named the first-ever Falkirk Herald Young Writer, Emily said: “I really enjoyed writing my story. We went down to the Helix to see the Kelpies before I started writing.”
The full list of winners is:
P1 – 1=, Ava Green and Isla Deane, 3, Andrew Gregory (all St Andrew’s)
P2 – 1, Ruaridh Smith (St Andrew’s), 2, John Oscar Walker (Comely Park), 3, Hazel Barlow (St Andrew’s)
P3 – 1, Emily Graham (St Francis), 2, Katy Walsh (St Andrew’s), 3, Michael Rogan (St Andrew’s)
P4 – 1, Amelie Purdon (Airth), 2, Edwin Walker (Comely Park), 3, Shannon Neville (St Patrick’s)
P5 – 1, Samantha Graham (St Joseph’s), 2, Daniel McCue (St Joseph’s), 3, Roisin Diamond (St Patrick’s)
P6 – 1, Marnie Izatt (Carron), 2, Chloe Ashe (St Margaret’s), 3, Lucy King (Antonine)
P7 – 1, Meredith Rae (Ladeside), 2, Sophie Golding (Beancross), 3, Tomi Ajinomoh (Comely Park)
Seniors – 1, Darcie Izatt (Larbert HS), 2, Rowan Ferguson (Grangemouth HS), 3, Thomas Rintoul (Denny HS)