Pupils Shine in Writing Competition

We are proud to announce the achievements of two literary talents in the recent Henry Williamson Schools Writing Competition.

The competition, centred around the theme ‘Nature, the Seasons, and the Natural World,’ drew participation from talented young writers across the UK.

We are thrilled to congratulate Lucy, who secured the Runner-Up position, and Ammar, who received a “Highly Commended” recognition from the esteemed panel of judges.

Please enjoy both pieces below:

Flights of the mind

By Lucy L4

I drift through a kaleidoscope sky, a rainbow of colours shining in the summer sunset. The breeze pulls me along, soothing me into the rhythm of the summer season. I am led by the radiant light that warms my wing. I soar past big trees and stunning flowers, flying past the green canvas that the flowers paint with their shining pigments. A million colours, combined into a shard of life and nature. Just a figment of the beauty to unfold when spring comes again. Each petal a story of light and colour, of nature and life. The blinding light comes closer and I close my eyes.

When I open them again, I’m staring at a flickering flame. The spark is weaving in and out of reality, and as it burns and it fades, I watch its hypnotic beauty. I let it drop onto my hardwood floor, and it erupts. Flames climb up the wall, dancing to the beat of the leaf fall. Their vibrant beauty encases the room in an inferno of colour and light, beautiful and lethal. The flames quell and fade into a magnificent forest. I bound through the falling leaves, soaking up the autumn melody. My hand drifts past a bare branch, stripped of the leaves that brighten a summer day. It brushes the dry bark, feeling every groove. With each slip, I feel myself fall in and out of this reality.

I feel the chicanery of my mind plucking me out and lulling me into another world. In this world I am small. I hear the crunch of something below me, and feel the wondrous cold. It is snow. I leap across the meadow, a white kingdom sprinkled with powdery snow. The flurry is drifting onto my white coat, the winter weather overcoming my senses as I feel the early morning winter sun warm my frosted fur.  All I can see is snow. All I can feel is calm. All I can hear is the lullaby of winter’s warmth. I run, and now I’m in a cavernous rabbit hole, my awareness exploding into the tunnel system ahead.

I twitch uncontrollably, fighting the pull into-

Sitting in the home that I’ve been in my whole life. It is beautiful, but it feels wrong, like it should be open, like it should be seen. Then an eruption of sound as my cage begins to weaken! I’m encapsulated in a red corral, all the light blocked by the looming walls that meet above my head the vibrant prison is all I know, but I feel it unfurl as the first ray of light shines down on me. The walls fall down, and I can see – it’s a field – as far as the eyes can see. The flowers are blooming, dancing to the spring tune, I’m dancing with them. A sea of green becomes a sea of vibrance and colour. The sea of light and beauty.

Flights of the mind

By Ammar U4

The warm soft golden hues of the rising sun cascaded across the war-torn horizon, its gentle glow embracing the scarred landscape, as if nature itself aimed to mend the wounds inflicted by the First World War’s relentless conflict. No man’s land was a tranquil place, when there weren’t shells going off or bullets speeding in, slicing through the air, creating tears in the atmosphere. When there were no sirens wailing in the distance, only bringing despair and fear, pulverising any man’s courage; when there were no roaring engines readying themselves to deliver fatal blows, it felt peaceful, somehow.

Captain Tommy “Bird” Sinclair loved the mornings. He could forget about what was down below because he knew nothing could touch him. Tommy’s call sign was Bird because of how elegantly he flew his plane, as if he and the sky were supposed to co-exist. However, if he weren’t so sensational at flying, and fighting, he would have been kicked out of the Air Corps for frequently flying without permission.

On 17th July 1917, Bird sat tightly strapped into the cockpit of his Boeing P-12. The wind whipped around him, his hair flying in the sky. It was a cold and crisp morning. As he ascended into the sky, the world below slowly transformed. The trenches, barbed wire, and craters seemed to shrink to miniature proportions. The once terrifying landscape became a patchwork of colours and shapes, and finally diminished to a mere stain, on a world of green fields and flowers.

Bird’s mind became untethered; it became free from all the drags of reality, and he took this experience and treated it with a care unlike anything else. He marvelled at the grandeur of the world, despite so much destruction, devastation. The French countryside twisted and turned, hills and valleys popping up, sinking down. Bird gazed down at the verdant life down below, sprinkled with the odd village here and there and thought how life in those villages was uninterrupted by this war, and people felt ease and could continue with their daily lives. On the ground, Bird was jealous. Yet as he was, flying freely, he couldn’t care less.

Bird was in his element, up in the sky, just him and his machine. With every swift manoeuvre of his aircraft, the feeling of exhilaration brought his mind to another realm. He executed loops and rolls, twists, and turns, defying gravity and felt at one with the skies. Just like a bird.

The morning was ending, and the sun was rising into the new day, and Tommy knew that he must travel back to reality, and leave the serenity of the heavenly high skies, to dive into the saddening thought of another day at war.

Stepping out of the cockpit, Bird couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude. Amid the chaos, he had found solace in the skies. He had glimpsed the world from a unique perspective, reminding him of the beauty and fragility that existed beyond the battlefield.

Even after the war, Bird continued to fly, no longer controlling his beautiful Boeing P-12 with his amputated arm, but in the flights of his mind.

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