Winning Words

PUBLISHED: 15:23 16 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 20 February 2013

Arran Green winner of the student category

Arran Green winner of the student category

Here are the three winning entries for the Sea Abbotsbury literary competition, which was part of the Spirit of the Sea Weymouth and Portland Maritime Festival. Judged by award winning writer Julian Fellowes the entries took the title Spirit of th...

Here are the three winning entries for the Sea Abbotsbury literary competition, which was part of the Spirit of the Sea Weymouth and Portland Maritime Festival. Judged by award winning writer Julian Fellowes the entries took the title Spirit of the Sea as their inspiration.

Tsunami - Spirit of the Sea

I was just about to have my breakfast in my hotel room on the ground floor, when I noticed that water was trickling into my room. I could hear people shouting 'wave..wave". I went to open the door, when it burst open and water was thrown into my room. I was forced to the other side of the room and slammed against the wall. I tried to walk to the entrance but was forced to swim.

I managed to get out of my hotel by clambering out of a window. The ground was out of my reach by now and I could not touch the bottom. I swam to the nearest palm tree I could get to and held onto it for dear life. I knew I could not stay there, so I tried to swim further and further away from the sea.

I was beginning to think I was going to die out there...drowning to death, the one way I didn't want to die. All of sudden I felt something under my feet - I had no idea what it was, so I let it bob up to the surface. I then realised it was a dead body. I yelped, splashing around in the water, swallowing some too. I knew I shouldn't panic, but it was extremely hard not to. Then out of the blue a huge ferocious ten foot wave came crashing down onto me. As it forced me under, this is it, I thought. I was being thrown around in the filthy water, I couldn't hold my breath much longer, I needed to get to the surface, I swam, I swam and I swam using up what little energy I had left, the brown sea water was getting lighter. I got there at long last, gasping for as much breath as I possibly could. Oh god, it was hell on the surface, I don't want to describe it.

About half an hour had gone and I had managed to swim much more into land. As I was swimming, I saw a rescue helicopter way up in the air. I began to wave my arms all over the place but I soon realised everyone around me who was still alive was doing the same. The helicopter dropped a rope about twenty metres away from me, I swam and swam back to get the rope. I got to it and waited my turn to get into the cage. Everyone got onto it gasping and dripping as they did so. There was one person in front of me and the helicopter started moving, I started to shout and shout "get on, get on quick". I just managed to clamber onto the cage and they hauled us up into the helicopter as it set off inland. It was about a ten minute journey that I definitely wouldn't have been able to swim.

When we got there we clambered off the helicopter soaking wet, choking up water, and some people bleeding, I could see around me chaos- people crying for loved ones, the occasional ambulance, medics trying to help some people as they died slowly. I saw one person with a huge gash out of the side of his stomach, with his insides leaking out as he cried in pain, he must have been thrown into something by the waves.

I soon realised that I didn't have any possessions, I shouted 'help, help, I need my passport, I need my money. I need to get home "...but no one answered

Arran Green - winner student category


A Smuggler's Tale

The boys' guffaws rattled around the bus, the past week had been wonderful. Summer Street Prep School was returning from a blissful week in France to celebrate the appointment of a new headteacher, and the students were reflecting on what they had been up to

"Can I see it?" asked Zak.

"Why? Its just booze," snapped Andy.

"I just want to see the bottle."

"Just shut up, half-pint."

Zak hated that name. Every day his big brothers Andy and James would call him 'half-pint' in front of all Zak's friends, that now suffice to say only consisted of the Chess Club and the old lady in the corner shop.

Their argument was interrupted by the bark of Miss Sketch, their slightly terrifying teacher. "Okay children, rucksack check. Come up to the front of the bus in reverse alphabetical order, I want to make sure you're not smuggling anything back that I need to know about."

Zak stumbled up top the front of the bus, dragging his rucksack half-heartedly behind him. Miss Sketch opened the bag and rummaged around. "Ooh, an advanced French dictionary. Very good Zakariah." Zak's cheeks burned crimson red as the other children sniggered and laughed.

As he walked back to his seat, James thrust his leg out and sent Zak hurtling to the ground. In the confusion noone noticed Andy switching the bottle from his rucksack to Zaks, the contraband made it past Miss Sketch unnoticed.

The smuggled bottle was causing great excitement among the boys. They had found it on the last day of their trip, hidden in an old barn in the grounds of the farm where they were staying. They were supposed to be studying French culture, they just chose to study the French tradition of drinking lots of wine. When Zak realised the bottle was in his bag, his anxiety increased further.

"Look, I don't want to get caught with this! We don't even know what it is."

"God, half-pint, why have you always got to be the wet-blanket? What harm could a bottle of booze do?"

Once home the boys couldn't get to the garden shed fast enough. Zak was trailing behind his brothers, in their shadow as usual. Dictionary in hand, he requested the bottle one last time. "Let me please just read the label" he said.

"Okay, fine" James said, and snatching up the bottle he poured two glasses of the dark liquid before thrusting it into Zak's ribs. As Zak studied the label, eyes occasionally flicking to his dictionary, Andy and James proposed a toast to smuggling.

As they raised the glasses to their grinning mouths, Zak batted them out their hands with one swift movement. Cutting short their cries of protest, he jabbed his finger towards the label on the bottle, then waved the dictionary from side to side as if willing them to read it.

The label read 'desherbant', and the dictionary read desherbant - weed killer.

They looked at each other in disbelief.

Theo Savage - winner children's category

Spirit of the Sea

Father William Colet thrust his way determinedly through the throng of people on Melcombe quay. As Priest of St Mary's Church, Radipole, the busy little seaport was an outpost of his parish and the next day being the 24th June, the Feast Day of St John the Baptist, he was there to collect part of his tithe of fish for distribution to the poor and needy.

Further down the quay, he could see the day's catch had already been landed as wives and maidservants swarmed around the baskets like seagulls, shrieking and squabbling as they competed for the tastiest morsels. The priest was soon amongst them, his black habit flapping like a cormorant amongst the gulls as he fought for his share.

A clamour broke through their fishy bickering at the arrival of a ship, their squabbling forgotten as all turned to watch a sturdy little 'cog' being moored up. William smiled fondly. His first public duty as priest had been to bless this 'cog' at its launching seven years before, in the year of our Lord 1341. He had christened the ship 'Spirit of the Sea' and his personal gift to her had been a small wooden statue of our saviour; he had watched approvingly as the owner had nailed it to the mainmast for protection. The statue was still there and once again it had guided the little ship safely home.

But something was amiss. Five men were laid out on the deck, all clearly ill. The priest quickly boarded to see what succour he could give and was greeted with relief by the Captain.

William took the initiative: "Come, let me look at these poor men and I'll see what comfort I can bring,"

The canvas which covered them was pulled back to expose the naked bodies and he stepped back in horror. There were great black swellings in their armpits and groins, and out of these buboes oozed foul smelling pus. He had not the skill or experience to deal with anything like this.

"Who are those two?" he asked, pointing towards two men he didn't recognise.

"French merchants Father, fleeing from a deadly disease which is sweeping through all Christian countries. They paid us well to bring them to England to search for sanctuary. Too late I think."

William closed his eyes in despair. He had heard rumours of a terrible pestilence, but paid scant attention to it; it was far away across the seas. He was safe here, or so he had thought! There was only one thing the priest could do. He knelt by one of the dying sailors, made the sign of the cross and put his hand on the man's head to give him absolution. In that moment, he signed his own death warrant; a flea hopped from the sailor's hair onto William's wrist and as it started to suck his blood, the infection passed into the blood stream.

The priest would not live long enough to become aware of a grim irony; his blessed Spirit of the Sea had brought an evil spirit across the sea - the Black Death!

Greg Schofield - winner adult category

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