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Actor Julie Hesmondhalgh recently visited students at St Andrew’s CE Primary School in Oswaldtwistle to congratulate them on their fantastic entries into the ongoing Winter Writing Trail competition in Accrington.

The initiative, which has been run by Julie in conjunction with Amazing Accrington and sponsored by Hyndburn Borough Council and Creative Lancashire, saw primary and secondary school children invited to take part in a creative writing competition, to write a story or poem up to 300-words, on the theme of winter or Christmas.

Students from St Andrew’s CE Primary School went above and beyond with their entries, producing a spectacular craft display which told their story.

On her visit to the Oswaldtwistle-based school, Julie spoke to students about the competition, as well as catching up with one of the competition winners, Miley Greaves, who spoke about her story and how much she enjoys creative writing.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, said: “It has been great to visit St Andrew’s CE Primary School and catch up with some of the amazing young people who entered the Winter Writing Trail competition

“We have had winners from both primary and secondary schools across the region, but the reason we wanted to visit St Andrews was because not only did most of the school enter the competition, but they also created some amazing displays and beautiful boxes.

“This is everything we want to do with the Winter Writing Trail, we want to inspire young people to write, we want to inspire young people to create, and to tell stories about who they are and give them a sense of belonging, an identity and to be proud of where they are from.”

Miley Greaves, one of the winners of the Winter Writing Trail creative writing competition, said: “One of my goals was to write a really good story. I just used my imagination and I just did it.”

Murray Dawson, Chair of #AmazingAccrington, said: “This initiative has been the culmination of six months work and we are so glad that we put the effort in, it has been a fantastic activity which has really captured people’s imaginations including being mentioned on BBC Radio 4.”

All of the fantastic winning stories from the competition are now being displayed in shop windows around Accrington centre. The large window displays also contain a QR code, leading to video and audio files of 26 professional actors reading out these stories – huge names such as Jodie Whittaker, Suranne Jones, Toby Jones, Steve Pemberton and Julie herself. These can also be found on the Amazing Accrington website:

All 26 shops are also part of an exciting Winter Writing Trail competition, which invites people to visit each of the shops to collect one highlighted letter from each poem/story, which will then make a phrase. The competition ends on Sunday 24th December, with all entries to be handed in to the pop-up post box inside Accrington Market.

The Winter Writing Trail is sponsored by Hyndburn Borough Council and Creative Lancashire. For further updates on the Winter Writing Trail, please visit: