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WINNERS OF 24th MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
13/04/2016


WINNERS OF 24th MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Frankie Dettori, who will present the prizes

Frankie Dettori, who will present the prizes

The senior winner of the 24th Martin Wills Writing Awards is 24-year-old Chris Humpleby from Newmarket, who wrote an impactful and hard-hitting article entitled Newmarket: more than meets the eye. The winners in the other categories were Sibeal O’Briain from Dublin (under 18), Lizzie Hankinson from Tidworth (under 15), Amina Nelson-Riggott from Middlewich (under 12) and Clara Crabtree from Bristol (under 26 tweet) - see below for details of all winners and runners up.

Brough Scott, Chairman of the judges, said:

"Encouraging contestants to express themselves in print is the central point of these Awards and this year's winners did that splendidly. Especially the under 26 winner, Chris Humpleby, whose challenging tale of an insider's view of Newmarket's unhappier side deserves reading and answering."

Judith Allen, Executive Director of Racing to School, formerly BHEST, and a judge, added:

“The Awards provide a meaningful and stimulating follow-up activity for young people taking part in our Racing to School education programme, and we were delighted to be involved in promoting them this year. I was particularly impressed by the variety of entries, and the creativity and imagination shown by the budding young writers.”

Gabrielle Bell, Education Officer of the National Horseracing Museum and a judge, said:

“It has been a wonderful opportunity to engage young people in the theatre of racing’s stories-past, present and future. I have read some imaginative and powerful pieces which have shown creativity, insight and passion for the subject.”

Overall entries

The 24th annual Martin Wills Writing Awards, for creative writing (fact or fiction) around a horseracing theme by a young person resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, attracted 169 entries - a joint record with 2009 and 2010. Of these, 34 were in the under 26 category, 16 in the under 18 category, 51 in the under 15 category and 68 in the new under 12 category.

The introduction of an under 12 category and the numerous entries in the two junior categories reflected the Awards being organised by the Martin Wills Memorial Trust in association for the first time with two other charities: The National Horseracing Museum and Racing to School.

2016 winners and runners-up

The under 26 winner is 24-year-old Chris Humpleby, originally from Carlisle but now resident in Newmarket. He is Racing Manager for trainer Roger Varian and was previously Racing Secretary for trainer Ed Dunlop. At St Aidan’s County High School, Carlisle, he obtained an A* in English Literature, an A* in History and an A in Geography at A Levels. He then proceeded to Cambridge University, where he graduated with a 2.1 in History and a First in Education. In 2014, he completed the British Horseracing Authority Graduate Development Programme. He receives £1,000 for his article, Newmarket: more than meets the eye. The writer explains: “My article argues that racing must do more to protect the young and the vulnerable in Newmarket- a town that possesses a murkier underbelly than many might imagine”.

The under 26 runner up is 24-year-old Declan Delaney from London. He was educated at The John Fisher School, Purley and the University of Swansea, graduating with a 2.1 in History and Economics. He is now employed as a reinsurance underwriter in the City of London, but at the weekend is a bookmaker for Camross Racing with his father, Brendan, and brother, Gary. He receives £500 for his story, The closer at Lingfield. In his words: “It’s not quite Royal Ascot or Cheltenham, but an All Weather handicap at Lingfield provided me with my greatest thrill in racing - and a story worth telling”.

The under 18 winner is 17-year-old Sibeal O’Briain from Dublin. She attends The Teresian School in Dublin, where she is studying for her Leaving Certificate next year, following 10 As in her Junior Certificate. She receives £500 for her piece, What he knew, “which describes a young girl’s experience of the racing world and her relationship with her father”.

The under 18 runner up is 16-year-old Brian Dowling from Trim in Co. Meath. He attends St Patrick’s Classical School in Navan, where he, too, is preparing for his Leaving Certificate next year. He receives £250 for Twelve to one. Brian says: “My article was about my Nana, who always backed the same jockey”.

The under 15 winner is Lizzie Hankinson from Perham Down, nr Tidworth in Wiltshire, who was 14 at 1 September 2015 (the qualifying date) but is now 15. She attends Marlborough College, where she is studying for her GCSEs next year. She receives £250 for her article, The groom, “which tells the story of a young orphan boy, Muhammad, and his relationship with a racehorse in his care. The story is set in the Middle East, which acts as a dry and hot contrast to the lush racing ground of England”.

The under 15 runner up is 14-year-old Romany Whittall from Loscoe, nr Ripley in Derbyshire. She attends John Flamsteed Community School in nearby Denby, where she is studying for her GCSEs next year. Last year, she was joint third in the Year 8/9 Poetry category at the Ilkley Literature Festival. She receives £125 for Lookin’ for a racecourse, “about a girl who went to a racecourse to scatter her grandfather’s ashes, only to find it had been knocked down and turned into a housing estate with a children’s playground”.

The under 12 winner is Amina Nelson-Riggott from Middlewich in Cheshire, who was 11 at 1 September 2015 but is now 12. She is home educated by her mother, Becca. She has won prizes in competitions for new media and art. Her sister, Fureya, won the under 15 category in 2014. She receives £200 for The Grand National. She says: “An 11-year-old girl watches the Grand National and is completely carried away with the excitement of the race and the idea of being a jockey. She thinks of a way that she can race”.

The under 12 runner up is 10-year-old Jessica Henderson from Whitsbury, nr Fordingbridge in Hampshire. She attends Western Downland Primary School in nearby Rockbourne. She receives £100 for The shoe of the great white horse. Jessica says: “I was inspired to write my article because my father, Paul Henderson, was the farrier who shod Desert Orchid and two of the horse’s shoes are the centrepiece of our fireplace. I would also like to dedicate the story to Mr Rodney Boult, the work rider of Desert Orchid and a great family friend, who sadly passed away last year”.

The winning articles will be published, in the next few weeks, in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. A prizewinner could also have the opportunity of work experience at the Racing Post and of retaining for a year a bronze of two galloping horses by Gill Wiles.

The under 26 @WillsAwards racing tweet competition, on a non-fictional subject connected to racing, attracted 10 entries. The winner was 25-year-old Clara Crabtree from Bristol, where she works as a nanny whilst studying interior design part time. She was educated at Redland High School for Girls in Bristol and Oxford Brookes University, where she graduated in Animal Behaviour and Welfare. She also coxed the University Women’s Eight and Women’s Four. Her entry, for which she receives £250, was: “Anticipation, fascination, trepidation then elation or deflation. The key stages of Festival Fever, a chronic affliction”.

Additional information

The judges were: Brough Scott (Chairman), three times Sports Feature Writer of the Year and twice Racing Writer of the Year; Judith Allen, Executive Director of Racing to School; Marcus Armytage, racing writer at The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and Horse & Hound; Gabrielle Bell, Education Officer at the National Horseracing Museum; Chris Cook, Deputy Racing Editor at The Guardian; Lee Mottershead, a racing writer at the Racing Post; Sean Magee, an author and journalist; and Catherine Wills, sister of Martin Wills, who is a DPhil art historian and a racehorse owner/breeder.

The prize winning entries can be read by clicking “The Winners” tab.

With Brough Scott delivering the eulogy and Frankie Dettori saying a few words before handing out the prizes, the presentation is being made at 12.30 today, Wednesday 13 April, in the Limekilns Room on the Rowley Mile Course, Newmarket (the room being kindly made available by Jockey Club Racecourses).

The Shortlist 2016

The shortlist totalled 24 (eight under 26, five under 18, five under 15, six under 12), as follows:

Under 26    
  Age at 1 Sept  
     
Jessica Crandon
Declan Delaney
Lara Hopkins
Chris Humpleby
Charles Nurick
Louise Powell
Brian Sheerin
Helen Swire
24
23
21
23
21
23
23
25
Bristol, Avon
London
Walkhampton, nr Tavistock, Devon
Newmarket, Suffolk
Kinross, Perth and Kinross
Brookfield, nr Middlesbrough, Cleveland
Ballinagore, nr Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath
London
     
Under 18    
     
Julia Bicher
Mark Boylan
Brian Dowling
April Jakso
Sibeal O’Briain
16
17
16
16
16
Hailsham, East Sussex
Banagher, Co. Offaly
Trim, Co. Meath
Sevenoaks, Kent
Dublin
     
Under 15    
     
Ned Chatterton
Lizzie Hankinson
Kitty Lee
Hannah Smullen
Romany Whittall
12
14
14
12
13
Castor, nr Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Perham Down, nr Tidworth, Wiltshire
Odiham, nr Hook, Hampshire
Thomastown, nr Edenderry, Co. Offaly
Loscoe, nr Ripley, Derbyshire
     
Under 12    
     
Daisy Burton
Louisa Graves
Loveen Hassan
Jessica Henderson
Amina Nelson-Riggott
Rory Tully
10
11
9
10
11
9
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Calne, Wiltshire
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Whitsbury, nr Fordingbridge, Wiltshire
Middlewich, Cheshire
Rathevan, nr Portlaoise, Co. Laois

 

The Martin Wills Writing Awards commemorate Martin Wills, a journalist and amateur jockey who died in April 1992, aged 39. The Awards are organised by the Martin Wills Memorial Trust, a UK registered charity (number 1015017). 

2017 MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS TO BE 25th AND LAST
12 August 2016
JUDGES REPORT TO 2016 ENTRANTS
21 June 2016
WINNERS OF 24th MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
13 April 2016
MESSAGE TO PRIZE-WINNERS 1993-2015
22 March 2016
JOINT RECORD ENTRY FOR 2016 MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS
11 February 2016
2016 MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS FINAL REMINDER ENTRIES CLOSE ON 31 JANUARY
16 January 2016
ENTRIES FOR 24TH MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS CLOSE ON 31 JANUARY
04 January 2016
JUDGES’ FEEDBACK ON THE 2015 ENTRY
21 October 2015
24TH MARTIN WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
25 September 2015
WINNERS OF 23RD WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
15 April 2015
SIR MARK PRESCOTT TO PRESENT 23rd WILLS WRITING AWARDS
06 February 2015
23rd WILLS WRITING AWARDS
09 January 2015
Feedback on 2014 Wills Writing Awards
02 December 2014
Video Interview - 2014 Winners
20 May 2014
WINNERS OF 22nd WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
16 April 2014
140 ENTRIES FOR 2014 WILLS WRITING AWARDS – JILLY COOPER TO PRESENT PRIZES
03 March 2014
JILLY COOPER SUPPORTS 22ND WILLS WRITING AWARDS
03 February 2014
22nd WILLS WRITING AWARDS
03 January 2014
FEEDBACK ON 2013 WILLS WRITING AWARDS
17 May 2013
WINNERS OF 21st ANNIVERSARY WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
17 April 2013
ENTRIES CLOSED FOR 2013 WILLS WRITING AWARDS
05 March 2013
CLOSING DATE FOR WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
08 February 2013
21st ANNIVERSARY WILLS WRITING AWARDS
04 January 2013
FEEDBACK ON 2012 WILLS WRITING AWARDS
17 December 2012
WINNERS OF 20th ANNIVERSARY WILLS WRITING AWARDS ANNOUNCED
18 April 2012
ENTRIES FOR 2012 WILLS WRITING AWARDS
06 March 2012
CLOSING DATE FOR WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
10 February 2012
20th ANNIVERSARY WILLS WRITING AWARDS
06 January 2012
2011 MESSAGE TO ENTRANTS
21 November 2011
2011 WINNERS OF HORSERACING WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ANNOUNCED
13 April 2011
ENTRIES FOR 2011 WILLS WRITING AWARDS CLOSED
03 March 2011
2011 CLOSING DATE FOR WRITING AWARDS
11 February 2011
2011 WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 26s UNDER19s UNDER 15s
07 January 2011
2010 FEEDBACK TO ENTRANTS
28 April 2010
WINNERS OF HORSERACING WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ANNOUNCED
14 April 2010
WILLS WRITING AWARDS 2010 SHORTLIST CHOSEN
17 March 2010
RECORD-EQUALLING ENTRY FOR WILLS WRITING AWARDS
05 March 2010
WRITE-UP!
05 February 2010
A CHALLENGE TO YOUNG WRITERS
04 February 2010
2010 WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 26s UNDER19s UNDER 15s
09 January 2010
ADVANCE NOTICE TO SCHOOLS OF WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 19s/15s
12 October 2009
FEEDBACK TO ENTRANTS OF THE 2009 WILLS WRITING AWARDS
31 May 2009
WINNERS OF HORSERACING WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ANNOUNCED
15 April 2009
2009 WILLS WRITING AWARDS - Final Judging
24 March 2009
RECORD ENTRY FOR WILLS WRITING AWARDS
03 March 2009
ELIGIBILITY
13 February 2009
2009 WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 26s/19s/15s
16 January 2009
FEEDBACK TO ENTRANTS OF THE 2008 WILLS WRITING AWARDS
16 April 2008
2008 WINNERS OF HORSE-RACING WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ANNOUNCED
16 April 2008
FEEDBACK FOR WILLS WRITING AWARDS ENTRANTS 2007
07 April 2007
2007 WINNERS OF HORSE-RACING WRITING AWARDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ANNOUNCED
05 April 2007
A LETTER FROM BROUGH SCOTT TO ALL PARTICIPANTS IN THE 2006 COMPETITION
12 April 2006
2006 WINNERS OF HORSE-RACING WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 26s AND UNDER 19s ANNOUNCED
10 April 2006
WINNERS OF HORSE-RACING WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 26s AND UNDER 19s ANNOUNCED
12 April 2005
WINNERS OF HORSE-RACING WRITING AWARDS FOR UNDER 26s AND UNDER 19s ANNOUNCED
08 April 2005
2004 AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
08 October 2004

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