2017 Writing Competition

Write Wai PR & Copywriting Services
& Essex Hundred Publications

4th Annual Writing competition

in conjunction with Colchester Castle, The Wivenhoe bookshop and the
Colchester Gazette.


See  the winning entries


Dying Through Time
by Sophie Holgate

Do you ever feel like some things happen for a reason, maybe to teach a lesson? My name’s Tim Highland and this is my story.
I stared around at the unoccupied library, me and the librarian present. Ugh, stupid assignment has me sat in here for hours, I can’t believe this. The book I’m reading ‘Colchester’s history’ felt more like Colchester’s borery. I started to dose off with every word, until I was silently snoozing.
“AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHH”, WHAT? I looked around. Houses made of straw and mud? My clothes were now a tunic and trousers. Everything looked familiar. Suddenly I remembered, my book!
Had I been teleported to AD43 in the middle of the Boudicca revolt?
FIRE, people scrambled to a temple like building. Joining the crowd, I ran too. Inside were women, children, even cows! Suddenly, a man screamed. Unexpectedly the temple was masked in flames, scorching everything that it laid its hands on. That’s when I felt it. Screaming in agony, as the fire enshrouded me. I felt the darkness. I woke up to a smell of rot and puke. I looked around, people were everywhere, coughing, spluttering, dying. Was I?
I WAS IN 1579, THE TIME OF THE PLAGUE. I must leave.
I tried standing up, but I fell as soon as I did, what’s wrong?
“You alright there?” questioned an elderly man.
“I can’t move” I cried.
“You’ve got the plague. You’re dying” he said in a sympathetic tone.
Now I was scared, the plague? As I coughed, I looked down at my bloody hand. My heart was slowing… to a stop. I was dying.
“Wake up soldiers! You’re going back to the front line today.”
Laying in an uncomfortable bed, I looked down to see I was wearing soldiers uniform. Front line?
Was I in WW2?
First the temple, then the plague, now this. I jumped up grabbing the rifle propped against my bed. We were loaded onto a truck, the man sitting beside me shivered in his boots.
“Scared?” I asked, he nodded. He handed me a small cross, “For luck,” he winked.  I knew this journey was going to be dangerous, so I closed my eyes and tried not to think. Each bump making me sleepier.
I jolted awake in the library, baffled by what just happened. Nothing’s changed, something feels different. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a cross. Was it a dream?


Colchester Soldier His Words of War.
by Luke Burridge

May the 17th 1916, memorable for all the wrong reasons because this was my first day at war fighting the enemy for family, King, pride and country. This day, the start of my war, this battle, the big offensive to change the course of WW1 and mark its place in hearts and history.  Stationed in these trenches, these holes in the ground are starting to engulf and enrage me. “You will be home before Christmas”, that’s what we were told, well it’s a lie, we’ve been here two Christmas’ now.
Stationed in these disease, rat and lice infested trenches, that we have dug out of the cold, hard, man eating ground. This is not living, neither dead or alive, constantly in fear of an enemy attack. We’re being fed lie after lie, instead of food. Being told that this would be a mobile war, but we haven’t moved a yard in a couple of years.
Dark, damp, despair and dying, sleep has deserted me, nightmares, fear and visions of being colonised by rats and lice invade my mind in its place. Longed for letters filled with love from family the bridge of hope connecting me to home.
Playing cards, failing attempts to scratch the lice off my head and killing rats are my daily occupation. I can taste, smell and picture the beckoning, bloody battle. Men dying all around me, without the artillery and the gunfire, disease riddled, trench foot, feet so cold they rot, drowning in the mud and waste. There are the deafening noise of shells and whines of pain, visons of dead bodies and raging rodents, pungent smells of rats, waste, disease and mud, touches of the matted fur of rats and dripping dampness of the trenches.
Thousands of men have died in this war and I fear that my name will be scribed upon the growing list. I secretly pray to be inflicted with an injury, bad enough to send me to hospital or home instead of the journey to my grave on the battlefield.
My greatest fear is the gas shell, they don’t just kill men, they slowly torture them body and soul, before the release of death. Here I lie in my tomb, my hell. I long to journey heroically home to Colchester before I see the gates of heaven.


What you miss with your eyes open
Oscar Gould

When you close your eyes you see nothing, or at least that’s what you think you see but when you really look hard you see everything your school, your friends, your first kiss, you see the times you were low and the times you felt like you could conquer the world. But the things you don’t see are the things you pretend you don’t care about, the things that have always been there, the one constant in a world of chaos. These can be as little as an ant to as big as a country and they will always be there.
Simon was a child when the war started, he was scared that like his granddad his father would be pulled into the war and all that was left of his granddad was a little writing on a memorial to a thousand men, Simon lived in a flat near Colchester castle. He was five then.
His father was in the war and his mother was in the factories to make materials. Simon hoped he would see them again but he knew his chance was as slim as the rations. He was with a foster family in Bergholt. He was seven then.
After a year of living in the country Simon missed his flat in Colchester and he missed, his parents, he missed the walking round the castle, the picnics at jumbo and the ringing of the bell that he took it for granted the but he missed it now.
When the war ended Simon was in the army in the hopes he would find his dad. He never did. He celebrated with his friends to fill the void in his heart. He saw his mum and mourned for his dad, he was just another name on a grave.
Now Simon is 78 his mum is dead and he visits his dads grave every day. He lives in a flat in the same place he did when the war started.He spends his time with his wife and three children. The one thing that was always there throughout his story and the one thing he still has is Colchester.

Our congratulations to all the

The competition was open to Essex based 11 – 18 year olds. The closing date was 31st December 2017. A super range of prizes was on offer including a digital camera, an Annual Pass to Colchester Castle, and  £50 worth of book tokens given by the Wivenhoe book shop. Winning entries were also printed in the Colchester Gazette. Presentations were made at the gazette
offices on Friday 9th February.