'Extremely proud:' Joy as Richard Curtis and Emma Freud judge school's short story contest
PUBLISHED: 15:33 21 November 2018
They are renowned for their involvement with hit films, classic television shows and inspirational work with the Comic Relief charity.
And now one of Britain’s most successful comedy screenwriters, Richard Curtis and his partner, TV and radio presenter Emma Freud, have sent very special messages to inspire youngsters as part of one school’s Children In Need efforts.
School council members at Reydon Primary School decided to run a Pudsey-themed short story competition, and as an added incentive to entrants they were keen to get a special judge to read the stories.
Linda Ellis, deputy headteacher, said: “The school council wrote a letter to Richard Curtis and Emma Freud, asking whether they could judge the competition.
“We were very happy to get a lovely reply from them both saying how delighted they would be to judge the competition. We liaised with them to email the stories and were delighted to receive a personal video message from them both to announce the winners and runners up.
“Not only did they announce the winners, they described some of their favourite parts of winning stories as well,” Mrs Ellis said.
Admitting it was “absolutely brilliant,” Mrs Ellis said: “We played it to the children in an a special Children in Need assembly on Friday and then held another assembly for parents this week.”
With the contest attracting about 40 entries, from five to 11-year-olds, Mrs Ellis said: “There was a really great breadth of stories and it was amazing to hear back from Richard and Emma. We told the children they have written, produced and directed classics such as Mr Bean and the Vicar of Dibley and it gave them something to aspire to.”
Mrs Ellis said the school community was delighted that the judges had taken time out of their busy schedules to support the school.
She added: “We always aim to raise the aspirations of our pupils and having a famous pair of internationally respected writers, directors and producers reading our children’s stories has made us all extremely proud.
“The children were especially thrilled to know that Richard Curtis had written Mr Bean!”
Apart from the short story competition, the children organised a pyjama day and best dressed teddy competition as they raised £225 for Children in Need.
Winners and runners up praised
Announcing the Reception and Key Stage 1 winners, Emma Freud loved Teddy Walker’s story that had ‘40 sharks, 89 alligators, a helter-skelter and bubble gum ice cream!’
Richard Curtis enjoyed Eloise Foley’s story ‘Tea with the Queen’ because of the amazing use of description such as ‘The Queen’s glittering drawing room.’
In Key Stage 2, Emma Freud said it was a “difficult decision” to judge such a high standard of stories.
The story named runner up, by Erin Burgess, had a gripping opening storyline: ‘Pudsey was all out of ideas and Children in Need day was coming up!’
The winning entry was The Jumble Sale by Maddison Dexter. Richard Curtis really enjoyed the humour in it and his favourite line was: ‘I thought you said we were having a jumble sale not an argument show to entertain people!’