Reigate & Banstead Writes 2020.

Winners of 2020 Competition Announced.

Wartime story featuring Reigate’s fearless pigeons takes 1st place.

Orla McNally, a pupil at Reigate Grammar School, is the overall winner of this year’s competition. She should have met Crispin Blunt MP and award winning author Vashti Hardy at a celebration afternoon at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, the borough’s leading arts venue. Instead a socially distant celebration took place at The Warwick School, Redhill.

Orla penned a magnificent story about Reigate’s pigeons set during WWII. Her winning entry was unanimously praised by the competition’s judges.

There is an interesting backstory behind Orla’s masterpiece. Orla was inspired by memories shared by friend and former Reigate resident, Brenda Howlett-Nye (herself a published author). Brenda’s grandfather, Frederick Howlett was the Chief Inspector of Reigate Police during WWII. In his spare time, he kept pigeons. His birds took on an important espionage role during WWII. They fearlessly conveyed secret messages out of war-torn Europe all the way back to the fortress on Reigate Hill.

Sophie Pither from St. Joseph’s School, Redhill came 2nd with her spooky story The Ghost Train, whilst Ella Dutton from The Warwick School came 3rd. Her Story ‘Power of The Past’ used Reigate Fort and Earlswood to fabulous effect.

The independent judging panel, consisting of local teachers, public librarians, journalists and local councillors had difficult choices to make this year and they reported a ‘very high standard’. All of this year’s entrants should be enormously proud of their achievements.

Orla received her prize, sponsored by the Community Fund for Reigate and Banstead from Crispin Blunt MP. The Community Fund for Reigate and Banstead is a new and growing philanthropic fund that provides support specifically to local projects which tackle need, disadvantage, and community participation across the borough of Reigate and Banstead.




Crispin Blunt MP, Orla McNally, Kay Hymas and Gareth Owen, Chair of the Community Fund for Reigate and Banstead.

Reigate and Banstead Writes is managed by Kay Hymas of the Warwick School. The annual competition is open to all children aged 9-14 who live or go to school in the borough. Just under 1,500 stories have been submitted over the previous 3 rounds. Young writers are asked to write a story of 1,000 words set in or that is clearly about our local area. The next round opens 1st February 2021.

Interested in entering 2021? Ideas to inspire your writing fingers…

Have an army of ducks and swans taken over Priory Park? Has the Loch Ness Monster relocated to Mercers Lake? Has a UFO landed on Earlswood Common? What is the secret mystery of the windmill on Reigate Heath? Or just a day to day tale of Banstead Common.

You must be aged between 9 – 14 (roughly school years 4 – 8) and either live or go to school in the borough. Stories should be no more than 1,000 words and must be clearly set in the towns of Redhill, Reigate, Banstead, Merstham and Horley.

R&B Writes will be open for entries from 1 FEBRUARY 2021 with a closing date of MARCH 31st 2021.

Click here to download Entry form.

Click here to download competition rules.

Teachers: Please click here for RB Writes Power point to use in class or during assembly