Winners revealed in The Cotswold Challenge

By Anita Jaynes on 30 June, 2020

Two Swindon teenagers have won cash prizes after their work was chosen for their outstanding creative contributions to The Cotswold Challenge. 

Agata Spasik, a student of Bradon Forest School, Purton was named as the winner in the Creative Writing category of the challenge which was set up by five business owners who wanted to engage and inspire young people affected by lockdown. 

Agata’s poem ‘Toaster Poetry’ was chosen by the judges because it was ‘so simple, so beautifully put together and really quite profound’. Agata will receive £500 for her winning entry. 

She was thrilled. “I can’t believe it, I’ve never won anything before,” she said. She was even more surprised when she realised she had won £500 and not the £50 which she thought was the first prize. 

Also among the winners in this category was Alex Masters of The Ridgeway School in Wroughton. He took fourth prize of £50 for his poem called ‘The Boy’ about a young man who has to face a terrible task in a war time setting. 

One of the creators of the Challenge was Swindon media consultant Fiona Scott. 

“On behalf of all five of us who created this challenge, we would like to thank all of those young people who took the time and trouble to take part from all across Swindon and the Cotswold area. In all we had around 500 entries which were supported by funds from 18 sponsors and judged by 20judges who are all successful in their chosen fields. It’s been a huge success.”

The Challenge was set up to inspire teenagers who would have been taking GCSEs, A Levels or equivalents, are in yrs 11,12,13 (or equivalent) at school, college or undertaking apprenticeships, and who lived or studied within a 25 mile radius of Cirencester (centre of the Cotswolds). They were invited to enter three categories Art & Design, Creative Writing and Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking. Schools and teachers from across the area were instrumental in spreading the word and encouraging their students to take part.

The judges for the Creative Writing category were:

  • Paul Cornell – novelist, screen writer (including Doctor Who) and comics writer. 
  • Simon Kernick – thriller and crime writer, books include Relentless and Payback
  • Sarah Pinborough – writer of young adults and adult thrillers and an accomplished screenwriter. 
  • Kevin Wignall  – thriller writer
  • Fiona Sampson – poet and writer. 

Winners of The Cotswold Challenge were:  

Art & Design: 

  • 1. Charlotte Evers for ‘View Thru Window’ of Cirencester College.
  • 2. Ella McClenahan for ‘Black Lives Matter’ of Chipping Campden School.
  • 3 (joint) Ben Waldron for ‘Biotica’ of Cirencester College.
  • 3 (joint) Caitlin Turner for ‘Surreal Painting’ of Burford School. 
  • In this category there were four highly commended entries and 21 commended – entries numbered over 200. 

Creative Writing: 

  1. Agata Spasik for ‘Toaster Poetry’ of Bradon Forest School.
  2. Charlotte Minett for ‘Jackson & Olivia’ of Chipping Campden School.
  3. Jamie Moody for ‘Your Name Is’ of Cirencester College.
  4. Alex Masters for ‘The Boy’ of The Ridgeway School. 

In this category there were four highly commended entries and 12 commended – entries numbered almost 100. 

Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking: 

  1. Sam Groves for ‘Bird Box’ of Cirencester Deer Park. 
  2. Apple Yeung for ‘Plastic Waste Recycling’ of Rendcomb College.
  3. Issy Spurway for ‘Kloves’ of Farmor’s School.
  4. Ollie White for ‘Explore Rural’ of The Cotswold School. 

In this category there were four highly commended and eight commended – entries numbered almost 60. 

The winners and their work can be read or seen on The Cotswold Challenge website here: