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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!

Mr BB Wolf Vs Miss RR Hood

David Walliams reads the Gold-winning story in the 10-13 age category.

"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.
Mr. Wolf
Mayor"

Read the full story

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.

The Kindest of Strangers

Jenny Agutter reads the Gold-winning story in the 5-9 age category.

"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."

Read the full story

David Suchet CBE read Ashleigh May's Jack and Jill

Taking home silver in the 10-13 category.

Jack and Jill

David Suchet reads the Silver-winning story in the 10-13 age 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."

Read the full story

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.

Professor Sluggo and the Prosthetic Limbs

Sir Derek Jacobi reads the Silver-winning story in the 5-9 age 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."

Read the full story

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.

My Saviour

Noma Dumezweni reads the Bronze-winning story in the 10-13 age 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."

Read the full story

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.

The Lady Who Grew A Beard

John Bishop reads the Bronze-winning story in the 5-9 age category.

"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."

Read the full story

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

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Niall Horan performs This Town

Niall Horan performing debut solo single ‘This Town’ live at the 500 Words final

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?

500 Words 2017 story competition launches

Honorary Judge HRH The Duchess of Cornwall appears as Fairy Godmother in unique animation

The Top 50 Podcast

The Top 50 stories were revealed in a series of special podcasts presented by Dick & Dom. Themes included comedy, horror and Heroes and make perfect bedtime stories. Download and judge for yourself.

And all of this in a frankly incredible setting

Watch Highlights from the Final

500 Words 2017 Final - watch the highlights!

Catch the winning stories, music and inspiration making up an incredible 500 Words final.

Listen back to the final