A COMPETITION launched to inspire local children to show off their creative writing skills enjoyed its first prize-giving ceremony at Stratford’s Waterstones store on Good Friday.
The Katrina Prize is a short story competition run by the Bardstown Writers. Seven prizes of Waterstones vouchers were given in two categories: ages six to 11, and 12 to 18. The competition came about following a donation by Trevor Harris, in memory of his late wife.
The young writers were asked to submit 500 words and 1,000 words — for the upper age group — on the theme of The Lost Ticket.
The ages six to 11 winner was Jamie Messett for his tale which took the reader from 2000BC to present-day with the adventures of a boy called Charlie, while second prize went to Arnav Gurudutt, who wrote about punctuality, or the lack of it.
Emma Ivanova’s tale of a somewhat dysfunctional family came third, and Mia Davis Byrne, who wrote a spooky story about how life can take a wrong turn, was Highly Commended.
In the age 12 to 18 category the winner was Ewan McGarr, who picked up first prize for his philosophical story, George Halstead’s second prize-winning story featured a nightmare and some Latin, and Henry Ireland scooped third place with his historical tale of a far away place.
The winning entries
1st prize, 12-18 age group, Ewan McGarr
The Lost Ticket
I never really understood the phrase, ‘one man’s sorrow is another man’s joy.’ It never really made sense to me. How can something that makes a grown man sorrowful and full of self pity and yet the same thing make a different man full of life and joy? It just seemed a bit odd, a bit fictional really. My name is Harry Smith and I am going to tell you the story of how I came to understand that phrase and appreciate it.
I was walking to my local shop when I saw a sign saying, ‘Jackpot 45 million pounds.’ 45 million pounds, I thought, wow, I could do a lot with that amount of money. I reached the shop and walked through the door.
‘Hello, Harry. How are you today?’
‘Good, thanks Lee. How are you?’
‘Good, good, what can I get you today mate?’
‘Just some milk, please.’
‘Ok, one second, here you are.’
‘Oh, and a lottery ticket.’
‘Thanks, Lee, big jackpot this week, 45 million pounds!’
‘Wow, if you win that I will be expecting at least one Ferrari parked outside my door first thing tomorrow morning!’
‘Aha! See you tomorrow, Lee.’
That night I switched on the tv and changed it over to the lottery numbers. I looked down at my ticket and read the numbers out loud. ‘4, 7, 8, 15, 12 and 21.’ Then they started to draw the real numbers on the tv. ‘4’, ba dump, my heart started beating faster. ‘21’, ba dump, ba dump and faster, ‘7’ ba dump ba dump ba dump, ‘8’ ba dump ba dump ba dump ba dump, ‘15’, ba dump ba dump ba dump ba dump, ‘and the final number…12’, I froze. I thought I’d heard wrong so I rewound it and listened again, but no. I thought I’d read my numbers wrong, so I double-checked and triple-checked, but no, they were all right. I thought I was dreaming, I pinched myself, but I never woke up. I couldn’t believe it, I wouldn’t believe it, but there was no doubt!
The next morning I sprinted to the shop and shouted to Lee, ‘I won, I won!’
‘Calm down, calm down. Won what?’
‘No! You’re pulling my leg. I’m not falling for it this time, Harry Smith.’
‘I promise you I’m not. I have the ticket!’ I reached into my jacket pocket, my pocket was empty and I could feel cold air coming through a…hole. My ticket, my winning lottery ticket, worth 45 million pounds, had just fallen out of a hole in my pocket! ‘No…No…No!’ I started crying when I couldn’t believe my joys had been turned to dust.
I went back to my house and picked up the newspaper and the headline was, ‘A chance on the street.’ I read it a bit more and it said about a man winning the jackpot last night and I thought that could have been me and I read on to when they were interviewing the man and it said, ‘So why did you buy the ticket in the first place?’ And he replied, ‘I didn’t, I found it.’ He had my ticket and he was getting my money in three days! I had to find him fast.
I drove all around London looking for that man. I was comparing every man I saw to the picture in the paper. I took me one and a half days, but I found him. He had a cheap bobble hat and a ripped jacket on. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go up to a homeless man with only a sick dog as company and take away the only good thing that has ever happened to him. I simply didn’t have the heart. This man was so unfortunate, to take away his money just wouldn’t be humane of me. Instead, I went over and patted his dog and put my loose change in his hat.
This is my story of how I came to understand the phrase. For, when I was so angry and full of self-pity, but the man was so happy and joyful to finally get a lucky break in life. I realised that I didn’t need that money. I had a roof over my head and food to eat. This man had nothing but, now he does.
1st prize, 6-11 age group, Jamie Messett
The Lost Ticket
Men were lying down, sleeping, in the guard’s barracks. There were some still awake, on their watch, when something crept through their vision and … FLASH … there was no guard’s barracks anymore. Nor any guards. But there was a man standing there with a twinkle in his eyes, his smile glinting in the night. Then he too disappeared leaving only a ticket behind…
It was bedtime for Charlie, but he wanted a story. So, in came his mum with a glass of warm milk and a cookie, and prepared to read a story from his book. ‘No, Mum! he told her. ‘Tell me the other story, the one, you know, about the lost ticket.’
‘OK’ his mum replied, and the story began. ‘Many years ago, right here where our house now stands was a Roman barracks…’ Within minutes, Charlie was fast asleep, dreaming about finding the long-lost ticket. Charlie was an adventurous lad, aged 7 and a half. He had piercing blue eyes with short, muddy-brown hair. His face was filled with freckles that everyone teased him about. His family were very poor and needed money.
In the morning, Charlie was awake bright and early. Ready for a day of exploring the wood near his house. Into the forest he scrambled, desperate to find something to show his mum. He climbed over thick trees which had fallen over, and ducked under branches that stuck out, trying to claw into his face. Suddenly, his eyes caught a glint of gold! Could it really be the long-lost ticket? He dashed over to investigate, and much to his disappointment, it was just a pound coin. Don’t think like that, he scolded himself. It’s still a pound coin!
So, he continued his search for items to show his mum at home, when he saw his dad’s army badge lying on the floor. His dad had died the year before, from sickness. ‘The doctors couldn’t cure it,‘ his mum had said. He picked it up, and tucked it away safely in his pocket. And as he turned to walk away, he heard a rustling sound from underneath some leaves. As he scooped them away and threw them into a pile, he saw the flash of gold and the engraved script his mum had told him about; the long lost ticket!
Here it was, right in front of him. The ticket that could do whatever you wanted it to. A million thought whizzed through Charlie’s mind. He could get the money his family needed, buy a new house with a huge forest to explore and…Charlie thought, particularly liking this one, he could get his dad back.
He was suddenly filled with joy, he could see his father again. So off he dashed waving the ticket like a lunatic, and when he got home he showed his mum, told the ticket what he wanted, and suddenly his dad was right there; and the ticket was flying away, far into the night.