Budding young writer from Doncaster wins national story writing competition

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School children across the UK have been busy putting pen to paper to impress renowned children’s author and former Children’s Laureate, Anne Fine OBE, as part of a national story writing competition.

The Sleepy Stories by Silentnight campaign was launched in May to encourage families to keep bedtime reading at the heart of their night time routine, and today eight year old Toby Hopson was crowned the winner, beating off competition from more than 500 entrants across the UK.

Toby Hopson, a pupil at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Doncaster, penned a story, titled “Hippo and duck help Marlo Monkey”. It told the tale of Silentnight’s iconic characters hippo and duck and their mission to help a little monkey drift off to sleep.

As part of the prize, Toby will see his book published and has also won £1,000 worth of books for his school, a brand new Silentnight bed and a giant Hippo and Duck soft toy.

Toby said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had won the Sleepy Stories competition. I really enjoyed writing the story and hope that parents enjoy reading it to their sons and daughters as a new bedtime story that they won’t have read before. My mum used to read Anne Fine stories to me when I was younger, so it’s amazing that she read one of my stories and judged it as the winner.”

The competition was launched by Silentnight following its research which found that nearly a third of UK parents only read their children a bedtime story once a week or less. The research showed that 83 per cent of children said they enjoy being read aloud to and 68 per cent described it as a special time with their parents.*

“Hippo and duck help Marlo monkey” is being published by Silentnight and Toby’s story, along with those of the top ten finalists, is available to download as a unique bedtime story from the Silentnight website (www.silentnight.co.uk/sleepy-stories/). The printed book will be presented to Toby by Anne Fine at a presentation at his school on 11th July.

Nick Booth, Marketing Director at Silentnight, said: “We were overwhelmed with the number of entries to the Sleepy Stories competition, more than 500 in total! Anne had a tough job judging the best, as the quality was so high.

“Bedtime stories are an important part of a child’s life, shaping their relationships with literature and strengthening the bond between parent and child. We are happy to see that children across the UK have such colourful imaginations and are as passionate about bedtime stories as we are.”

Anne Fine OBE, leading children’s author and writer behind Jamie and Angus Forever and The Return of the Killer Cat said: “I thoroughly enjoyed judging the Sleepy Stories by Silentnight competition, it always amazes me how imaginative young people are. Toby’s entry stood out as it took the reader on a journey about drifting off to sleep, which is sure to keep parents and children interested but also put you in the mood for a nice relaxing bedtime. Well done Toby.”

For more information visit www.silentnight.co.uk/sleepy-stories

*Statistics from The Book Trust - http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/sep/26/bedtime-story-is-key-to-literacy-says-childrens-writer-cottrell-boyce