11 Reasons 2017's 500 Words Final Was The Best Yet
Seven years ago, Chris Evans had a dream: to get children excited about reading and writing. 500 Words is now one of the most successful story-writing competitions for kids in the world.
On Friday 16th June 2017 we invited the Top 50 finalists to a star-studded grand final at the Tower of London. The six winning wordsmiths were revealed by celebrity narrators, and we were serenaded by Niall Horan, Anne Marie, Louisa Johnson and Olly Murs.
Here are just a few of our favourite moments from 500 Words 2017:
Firstly, we had some fantastic winners
And did we mention the winning entries were read out by some of our favourite celebrities?
Livia Turner was our gold winner in the 10-13 category. Her story, Mr BB Wolf Vs Miss RR Hood, was read by one of the UK's favourite children's authors: David Walliams!
"I am certain you will adore The Woods. The animals that live here are all pleasant folk, and the scenery could be straight from a fairy tale!
Wishing you a delightful day.
Lauren Cook's The Kindest of Strangers, read by Jenny Agutter
Our gold winner in the 5-9 category was read by the Emmy and BAFTA-winning actress.
"A cold wind blew and leaves whipped up and danced around the ankles of an old man crouched in a doorway. His coat, clutched around his shoulders, offered little warmth and he shivered, holding his hand out in the hope of a coin or two.
Around him, people hurried by, wrapped in thick coats and scarfs, bent into the wind, oblivious to him.
It was two whole days since he'd eaten and his stomach growled with hunger."
David Suchet CBE read Ashleigh May's Jack and Jill
Taking home silver in the 10-13 category.
"Wrongly convicted, wrongly slain.
A suffering this world couldn't contain.
When the clock struck the hour,
She hung from the tower,
Her lust for vengeance all in vain."
Sir Derek Jacobi read Professor Sluggo and the Prosthetic Limbs by Lucinda Levene
The voice of the BBC’s In The Night Garden introduced our silver winner in the 5-9 category.
"Once there was a team of slugs training to be professors, and they were called Slugwell, Slugathon and, most hard-working and enthusiastic of all, Professor Sluggo. Well, he wasn't really a professor yet but one day he became one.
Caring Professor Sluggo thought about all the sad slugs who weren't having any fun because they couldn't walk like the other living things and they couldn't tap dance either. What should he do? Then he had an amazing idea."
Evie McKeon's My Saviour was read by Olivier award-winner Noma Dumezweni
Evie's story was our bronze winner in the 10-13 category.
"Hope- one word four letters. That is all I needed.
The velvet coat which I have been told is a beautiful raven black, guides me. I feel it's wet button nose against my hand. It seems only yesterday everything went. It was so hard to acknowledge my flaw and survive alone in the darkness, yet I wasn't alone."
Comedian John Bishop read Jed Wherlock's The Lady Who Grew A Beard
Jed's story was our bronze winner for 5 - 9 year olds.
"In the faraway land of Ireland, there lived a weird old lady called Lizzy. She had a very unusual diet of deep fried frogs legs dipped in butter. This very strange diet, magic some say, made her grow a long black wiry beard."
There was a record number of entries (again)!
The competition for children aged between 5 and 13 has seen another record year attracting a staggering 131,798 entries (that's over 65 million words!) Each and every one of this year's entries was read by a fantastic team of volunteer teachers and librarians from around the UK, before being whittled down to the top 50 finalists by the Reading Agency.
We were treated to a performance from global superstar Niall Horan
At the age of just 23, Niall Horan has sold over 70 million records and played around the world to millions of fans with One Direction, but today he swapped the arenas and stadiums to play an intimate gig just for us!
What a way to start
Remember when everything kicked off in January with this message from Chris Evans and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall?