In the third annual essay competition (delayed from 2020 because of the pandemic), organised jointly by Derbyshire’s Friends of Dronfield Station (FoDS) and Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School the winner was Isabella Turner, with runner up Martha Clarke in second place and Ella Billam in third. The competition was set to year 10 students who were allowed to write either a factual essay or a short story, the one stipulation being that it had to contain some reference to railways.
The three winning students chose to write short stories, and all were extremely imaginative. The winning entry by Isabella about a grandmother who looked back to an earlier time in her life had a neat twist at the end. Martha‘s story described a nightmare train journey home accompanied by a crowd of noisy football fans, and Ella’s story described an act of kindness on a railway station.
FoDS members Philip Brightmore and Jan Alexander, who judged the competition said that from a long shortlist it was difficult to decide who came out on top as the standard of work was impressively high, but Isabella, Martha and Ella thoroughly deserved their winning certificates and the prizes of £100, £50, and £30 respectively.
The prizes were presented (at arms’ length in line with social distancing rules) at the station on Friday 18 June by town mayor Cllr Richard Welton who praised the work of the three students and particularly welcomed the stories being built around trains and stations, a continuation of a tradition through films and books going back several decades. Local MP Lee Rowley congratulated Henry Fanshawe School and FoDS for persevering with the essay competition in the current difficult circumstances. He recognised the hard work that the competition involved but believed it was a good example of cooperation between the school and a valued local community group.
Rachel Allen, who organised the competition within the school’s English department at the said that she was looking forward to 2022 when the students from Henry Fanshawe would have another opportunity to showcase their creative writing talents.