Bridport girl reaches final of short story competition run by Chris Evans

Bournemouth Echo: THE WRITE WAY: Bethan Collins has reached the finals of the short story competition run by Chris Evans THE WRITE WAY: Bethan Collins has reached the finals of the short story competition run by Chris Evans

TALENTED teenager Bethan Smith has beaten 74,000 rivals to win a place in the finals of a short story competition on Chris Evans’s breakfast show.

The 13-year-old is in the final 25 of her age group is the Radio 2 DJ’s 500 Words contest with The Antique Shop.

Colfox pupil Bethan will travel to the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in Wales with the other finalists for a live broadcast where the winner will be announced.

And she may have her story read by funnyman David Walliams as part of the event.

Bethan, who lives in Walditch with mum Tracey, dad Anthony and sisters Abbey, 16, and Imogen, four, said: “It is really exciting.

“I didn’t think I would get this far.

“It is the first writing competition that I have entered.

“I am quite nervous about the festival but it is a big achievement just to get in the final 25.

“I don’t really mind how I do. It should be a nice day.”

Some 74,000 youngsters entered the short story competition run by DJ Evans on his breakfast show. Judges will pick gold, silver and bronze winners in age nine and under, and 10 to 13 age categories.

There are 25 finalists in each age category.

Bethan’s story tells of a girl who goes into an antiques shop and is captivated by a music box, but there are unforeseen consequences.

David Walliams will be among those reading entries at the Hay Festival in at the end of this month.

Bethan said she heard about the competition from her friends and saw posters advertising it.

She is a fan if the Twilight series of books and recently just read the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which she loved.

Bethan said: “I’ve always written my own little stories but this is the first competition I have entered.”

She added she would like a career as a writer when she is older either writing books or in journalism.

Mum Tracey said that Bethan always has her nose in a book or a Kindle.

Visit bbc.co.uk/radio2/ 00words/2012/ to read Beth’s story and for more information. Bethan’s story is also on dorsetecho.co.uk

Beth's story: 'The Antique Shop'

The old shopkeeper sat at the counter, wasting time. He hadn't had a customer for years; antiques just weren't that popular anymore.

He'd been sat here for years. He wore plain clothes, old fashioned and moth eaten, but these were hidden by his long black coat which hung about him with an air of mystery. Not eating, sleeping, moving, he looked almost frozen in time. But he didn't need any of that, not anymore.

Suddenly, the old rusty door bell jingled brightly, and the frozen shopkeeper came to life. He sat up and gave a welcoming smile. A small red haired girl wandered in, browsing around.

Then she spotted it, sat in a clear glass display case, glittering in the sunlight, was a blue glass music box, with gold patterns and a shining golden key. She went over and pressed her nose against the glass, gazing longingly at it.

The glass display case was shining in the sunlight, but splotchy patches were grey due to a build up of dust. The shopkeeper looked at her hopefully; egging her on 'Please' he thought 'choose the music box'. She strolled nervously to the counter.

"How much is the music box?" she mumbled hopefully.

"£10," he smiled "Can I buy it, please?" she asked, slightly impatiently.

"Of course of course, sorry," he mumbled and ducked under the counter. He came up a second later with a rusty ring of keys, and led the way to the display case.

As he lifted the glass, there was a slight whoosh of the clean, fresh air leaving the display case. The girl reached in and picked up the music box, stroking her fingers along the smooth glass casing around the clockwork.

She turned the small key four times clockwise and listened to the tune.

He watched with anticipation as she started to fade away. She didn’t notice, she was too absorbed in the sweet tune, hypnotised by its menacing music. She faded and faded until she was nothing but a wisp of smoke, hanging innocently in the air, wavering at the slightest breeze.

He pulled a jar out from his long black coat and caught her in it, clasping it shut as if she was a precious diamond. Then he put her on the shelf with all of the others.

The young girl wandered into the Antique shop, looking at all of the old dusty jewellery boxes, and china statuettes.

A large vase with a marbled pattern caught her eye, reminding her of her mum. She'd like something like that.

The girl went to the back and looked at all of the furniture, the dusty moth-eaten armchairs and the rotten rocking chairs that looked as if they would fall down at the slightest touch. Nothing interested her much, so she turned to leave.

She was almost at the door, when she saw it, shining in a dusty glass display case, blue glass with golden patterns and a tiny golden key. It was a beautiful music box.

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