A RECORD entry of more than 300 pupils from four junior schools entered this year’s young writer and photographer competitions organised by Four Marks and Medstead Rotary.

Some 250 written entries on the theme of ‘A Different Perspective’ were received from children at Bentworth, Chawton, Four Marks and Medstead schools, and more than 90 photographic entries were submitted on the same theme.

The winner of the young writer competition was Sophie Fitt from Four Marks School, who wrote about the different Christmas celebrations in a home in this country and in a refugee camp in Syria.

Sophie’s entry was also awarded third place at the Wessex district level of this national Rotary contest.

The runners-up were Daisy Clark (Four Marks), writing on a similar theme; Bonny McCandlish (Bentworth), writing on the theme of ‘Unity is Strength’; and Mary Vitoria (Chawton), whose entry was about a refugee settling in as a pupil in this country.

The other finalists were Molly Byrne and Logan Walker from Chawton.

At the awards presentation at Medstead village hall, lead judge Phil Talbot said he was impressed by the number of entries and the quality and maturity of the work of the winners.

He said: “While the topic proved difficult for some, a number of entries reflected a keen interest in news and current affairs.”

Topics covered included the problems for children in Syria and Myanmar, as well as marine pollution and exercising dogs in public spaces.

The winner of the young photographer competition was Charlie Tubby, whose photographs were also highly commended at the Wessex district level of the national competition.

The finalists were Lacey Chance, Lilly Day, Lottie Emes, Ryan Howsego, Kiri Nikishayeu, Pierce Rossiter and Kellan Webb, who all attend Four Marks school.

The lead judge for the competition was professional photographer Nicky Wood, from Alresford.

The winning entries were read out at the awards presentation, and Four Marks and Medstead Rotary president Sally Duncan presented certificates and prizes to the winners and finalists.

Competition co-ordinator Mike ‘Sparks’ Sanders thanked Jondo UK of Aldershot and Wildly Upbeat Printers of Alton for sponsoring the printing and framing of the entries, adding that the feedback to this year’s competitions had been very gratifying.

The themes for next year’s competitions have already been announced – written entries will be on the theme ‘My Inspiration’, and the photographic theme is ‘Beauty of Nature’.

These competitions are part of Rotary’s youth programme, ensuring that young people can compete and achieve a personal best whether at a local or national level.