Rotary Club ‘Young Writer’ National Finals for Freemen’s pupil

17 Mar 2021

Freemen’s pupil secures third place in the National Final of the Rotary Club Young Writer competition.

Yan, (L4) has come third in the National Final of the Rotary Club Young Writer competition, 2020, at Intermediate Level for 11 to 13 year olds. The task set was to write approximately 500 words on the theme ‘Connections’, interpreting this topic as they chose.

The competition is run annually by Rotary Great Britain & Ireland and is open to students in full time education, at three age groups: 7-10 years; 11-13 years and 14-17 years, who enter via a local Rotary club. Clubs who participate encourage local schools to take part, and judge and reward their own stage of competition.  Winners locally go on to District heats, and hence into the National ‘play-off’. This year, 69 entries fought out the Finals, from 25 Rotary Districts throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

The competition calls for entries as either prose or poetry, and while most choose the former, Yan opted to write a poem. Yan (age 11) set his story during wartime, in the ‘slushy, sticky mud, squelching with every step’ trenches of World War 1. Focussing on the thoughts of a soldier who has been ‘set a job, a mission, a task that I have no option but to obey’, the soldier, a front line lookout, feels he is ‘going to have to shoot a Hun’. Why he cannot say, except that they are enemies, not personally, but he is ‘the foe’. Sure enough, the shot is made and the target drops: ‘I have killed an innocent man’.

The ‘Connection’ of the story comes the next day, when our hero is himself in the attack, ‘weaving our way through barbed wire, running now and gaining ground fast, but we are losing men by the second’. As he slowly advances,‘they load, aim and fire, and it’s me who falls to the ground.’ As he lies dying, ‘an image comes to mind of last night …. Now that innocent man is me’.

Dorking Rotary Club’s competition received almost 90 entries from students at two schools, and chose several winners and runners-up to whom we awarded certificates. The winners went on to our District, covering those clubs that entered the competition from Surrey, Sussex and South Greater London. Yan won the District trophy for Intermediates, and so progressed to the Nationals, this time coming a very creditable third. We are very proud of Yan and his achievements.