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AFC Bournemouth’s Women’s Team Surprise Writing Festival Winners

The three winners of the creative writing competition for schools and home-educated children in Dorset were surprised by members of the women’s team during their visit to the Vitality Stadium.

Eleanor Havard-Hussain (7), Leo Russel (8) and Sadie Morton (10) were winners of their respective age categories in the competition organised by the Bournemouth Writing Festival. Their prize included an exclusive tour of the Vitality Stadium, led by Head of Community Sports Trust at AFC Bournemouth, Steve Cuss. Four members of the women’s team surprised the winners in the home dressing room and presented them with an AFCB home shirt with their chosen names on the back.

As well as a tour of the stadium – including visiting the dressing home, walking down the tunnel and the press areas – the winners were announced in the official matchday programme in the cup match against Stoke.

The competition, open to all Primary schools and home-educated children within Dorset, aimed to inspire youngsters to write, with a football theme story as a starting point and helpful hints to create an exciting story.

The Writing Festival worked in partnership with Sandford St Martin’s Primary School, providing resources to support educators and teachers to guide their pupils' creativity.

The three judges were:

  • Lorna Child, a multi-talented children’s author and HOT radio presenter.

  • Christine Aziz, a creative writing tutor at Arts University Bournemouth, winner of the Richard & Judy book prize and author of the recently-published children’s novel, ‘The Kingdom of Broken Magic’.

  • Jane Skellet has 46 years’ experience leading creative writing in schools and is the founder of the Hengistbury Head Writer’s Group.

They praised the exceptional quality of the submissions, highlighting the success of this initiative in promoting creativity and literacy among young people in Dorset. The three winning stories can be read on the Bournemouth Writing Festival website at

Dominic Wong, Festival Director of the Bournemouth Writing Festival, commented, “we were overwhelmed with the response to our competition to inspire young people to write, and were delighted that AFC Bournemouth and their Community Sports Trust supported us with such fantastic prizes. Thank you to everyone who took part and we look forward to announcing our next writing competition for young people in the New Year.”

Next year’s Writing Festival takes place on 26-28 April 2024 in Bournemouth Town Centre. For details, visit

Photo Credit: Richard King.

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