aN IRONVILLE schoolgirl has won a prestigious writing competition.
Twelve-year-old Abbie Taylor, a Year 7 student at Swanwick Hall School, is the 2011 winner of the Martin Wills Memorial Trust Racing Writing Awards in the under-15 category.
Abbie’s prize was a cheque for £250 presented by former champion jockey, Lester Piggott, at Newmarket’s Craven meeting where Abbie and her family were invited for the day.
Abbie said: “It was a real privilege to spend the day at Newmarket and to gain an insight into the world of horseracing. I love writing and hope to study English at university one day. Winning this award has given me the confidence to believe anything is possible.”
The competition honours the memory of Martin Wills, a well-known figure in the world of horse racing and aims to encourage young writers every year through the challenge of producing a creative essay with a horse racing theme – although a detailed knowledge of the sport is less important than the quality of the writing.
The chairman of the judging panel, broadcaster and director of the Racing Post, Brough Scott, particularly commended Abbie’s 800 word fantasy story about an emaciated ex-racehorse. He said: “Abbie’s article was excellent for one so young, full of imagination and pulled together brilliantly.”
In addition, the Wills Trust organised visits to two leading racing stables – James Fanshawe and Henry Cecil.
Abbie is also a founder member of the Myth and Magic Fellowship – an after school literature study group based at Ironville and Codnor Park Primary School.
Abbie was also interviewed on Racing UK, along with Mick Ennis who runs the Fellowship. Her essay will be published in a future edition of the Racing Post.
Abbie recently completed the first draft of her debut novel “Drift” and presented a paper on Tolkien and Romanticism at the German Tolkien Society conference in Jena in April 2010.