The six winners of this year’s BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition were announced in a special broadcast of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show live from the Tower of London.
Honorary Judge, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, presented the Gold winners with their prizes live from the Tower. The Bronze, Silver and Gold winning stories across the two age categories were announced and read out on-air by celebrity narrators including David Walliams, Jenny Agutter OBE, David Suchet CBE, John Bishop, Olivier award-winning Noma Dumezweni and actor Sir Derek Jacobi CBE. Plus there was live music from One Direction’s Niall Horan and Olly Murs. This year, all those attending the final also received free entry to the Tower of London for the day.
Now in its seventh year, the competition received a record 131,798 entries – over 8,000 more than last year – from children aged between five and 13 from all over the UK. Each child composed an original work of fiction using no more than 500 words.
For a second year, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall joined the judging panel of the competition as an Honorary Judge. The other four judges were award-winning and best-selling authors Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Francesca Simon.
Chris Evans says: “Each year we never fail to be astonished, surprised and moved by the weight of effort that the kids of the UK put in to producing their own unique 500 Words magical creations. Here’s to this year and bring on 2018!”
Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 says “I’m so proud that Radio 2, as well as being the most listened to radio station in the UK, is home to one of the world’s most popular children’s story-writing competitions. The success of 500 Words is down to the huge behind-the-scenes team effort at Radio 2, led by the initiative’s creator Chris Evans, who galvanised a record breaking 131,798 children to write a story. Thanks to the young authors, their parents, the 7,000 volunteer teachers and librarians who read all the entries, and the final Judging Panel, who spent hours poring over the Top 50 to decide the winners. Special thanks go to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall for her role once again as an Honorary Judge.”