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Countess of Chester to meet UCFS children at graduation ceremony - 15/03/2018

Potential literary stars of the future will have the chance to meet HRH The Countess of Chester (HRH The Duchess of Cornwall) when she receives her Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Chester this Friday, March 16.

The Countess is a champion of literacy and is receiving the award at Chester Cathedral from the Chancellor of the University, Dr Gyles Brandreth, for her inspirational leadership in promoting and encouraging literary initiatives and celebrating literature.

As she prepares to leave the ceremony, she will meet 10 Year 6 students from the University Church Free School (UCFS), who will present her with a selection of their creative writing, which they have prepared in honour of her visit. Each child wrote a piece of flash fiction (very short stories, which, in this case, are no more than 75 words), using royal themes as their starting point (this year’s Royal Wedding and the arrival of Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s baby brother or sister).

The flash fiction was then assessed by two Senior Lecturers in the Department of English at the University of Chester – Drs Ashley Chantler and Peter Blair – who are both Editors of Flash – the world’s leading journal of quality flash fiction. Dr Chantler and Dr Blair are also Directors of the International Flash Fiction Association.

Assessing the work, Dr Ashley Chantler said: “We very much enjoyed reading all the flash fiction that the children produced. The work was all of a very high standard.”

The children meeting HRH the Countess of Chester are: Isobel Ayling (aged 10); Ella Bargery (aged 10); Ruby Burns-Buckland (aged 10); Darcy Furlong-Hart (aged 10); Lili Homer (aged 11); Eve Mackay (aged 10); Alexandra Modoi (aged 10); Lilly Pilling (aged 11); Lily Wehbeh (aged 11); and Isaac Wood (aged 10).

Mrs Erica Cowley, Year 6 teacher at UCFS (who has previously worked with the National Literacy Trust) said: “I was very proud of all of the children’s contributions. The children are really talented writers so I knew when I set them the challenge of writing their Flash Fiction, they would write fantastic stories.”

Lilly Pilling said: “It was a once in a lifetime experience to write for such an important occasion.”

Darcy Furlong-Hart said: “Writing a Flash Fiction for Prince George and Princess Charlotte was very enjoyable. But it was a bit of a struggle to write a good story with only 75 words. I tried really hard and I am very proud of my story.”

Lily Wehbeh said: “I enjoy writing very long descriptive stories, so having the task of writing a Flash Fiction story using only 75 words was a big challenge, but I really loved doing it.”

Mr Jonathan Farrington, Principal of UCFS added: “The school is honoured to have the opportunity to take part in such a special occasion. All the children are looking forward to Friday and they are extremely excited to know that the audience for their stories is a royal VIP with a particular passion for literature.”