Francesca wins BBC story award and hitches a ride with royalty

Pam Mills

Schoolgirl Francesca Wade has dazzled a host of established authors and entertainers with her comedy story writing.

The seven-year-old, who attends Hilden Oaks School in Tonbridge, won a bronze award in the five-to-nine age group of BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words competition. There were 135,000 entries nationwide.

She received the accolade from the Duchess of Cornwall at a ceremony at Hampton Court Palace on Friday [June 8], which was broadcast live on Chris Evans’ Morning Show.

Her mum Sharon, who is Deputy Headteacher at Hilden Oaks, said: “Her face was one of total amazement as Dara O’Briain read out her story. She was then interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV about ideas for her story.”

‘Agent Ramsbottom and the Mysterious Fish and Chips’ is a humorous account of a police force run by babies who enforce healthy eating on an obese society.

Francesca’s detective tackles a thoroughly modern phenomenon when he goes ‘underground’ to investigate the cause of a fatberg, an accumulation of fatty deposits that blocks sewers.

She even received an open letter of thanks from Lanes Group PLC, who clear out the fatbergs from London’s sewers, for highlighting the importance of their work.

There were three winners in each category, and they were all taken for a ride in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car from the original film with Mr Evans driving and the Duchess of Cornwall in the front seat.

“For a short while Francesca was allowed to take the wheel and steer Chitty which was the absolute highlight of her day,” said Sharon.

After that she took a trip on Gloriana the Queen’s Rowbarge, which was used for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and while she was on board she chatted to the judges and readers from the competition: David Walliams, Francesca Simon, Malory Blackman, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Charlie Higson, Jason Isaacs, Shobna Gulati, Amanda Abbingdon, and Jim Broadbent.

Mr Boyce said: “We loved this story’s swaggering, bonkers humour and the fact that somehow an important and timely message about the environment came tumbling out of its madness,”

Ms Simon added: “What an incredibly wacky and wonderful world created!”

Francesca received a personalised book of all the top six stories with the judge’s comments about each one, and she will also be sent her height in books.


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