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'Forever Friends' wins fostering writing competition

A Wirral writer is one of the winners in an inspirational creative writing competition launched held as part of the regional ‘You Can Foster’ campaign.

The competition was open to children in foster care and fostering families from the North of England. They were encouraged to tell their stories to encourage a new generation of adults to sign up as foster carers.

The entries were judged by a prestigious panel of children’s authors and poets including Frank Cottrell-Boyce, poet Tony Walsh, children’s authors Cathy Cassidy, Livi Michael and Dan Worsley.

Children were asked for a personal account of a fostering experience or an inspirational tale. ‘Friends Forever’ was a winner in the 9-12 year old category (see below). It will now be published online. Another entrant from Wirral wrote ‘Season One’ which was shortlisted in the under 8’s category. We can’t give the names of the writers as they have to remain confidential, but judges praised the standard of the entries.

Asked to give a view on the Wirral entry ‘Forever Friends,’ (reprinted below), children’s author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce said: “This was a bit special. It has a really interesting idea - the friendship token - that was very thoroughly thought through.  Lots of very real emotions.  It was full of surprising twists and turns that were rooted in the characters’ very real emotions.”

Forever Friends

Poppy was a fluffy little dog who  lived in a town where dog owners gave out friendship tokens to their dogs, as a reward for being good. The friendship token was magical. If a dog wore their friendship token  around their neck, then all the other dogs would want to be friends with them, FOREVER.

Leroy was a black labrador who liked Poppy and he wanted to be her best friend. He got jealous when Poppy was given a friendship token by her owner, because he thought that another dog would become her best friend and she would no longer be friends with Leroy.

In the town, there lived a horrible and mean woman. She did not like dogs and she didn't want them to have friends. She tried to cause trouble. She told Poppy that Leroy was not really her friend because he  wanted to steal her friendship token, so that Poppy would never have any friends, apart from Leroy.

Poppy cried when the mean woman told her this. When Poppy asked Leroy if it was true, Leroy said: "I don't want to steal your token . The mean woman is lying.”

Leroy knew that the mean woman had done a horrible thing and had told a lie, but he felt bad because he knew that he was jealous. He  did not want to steal Poppy's token, but he wished that her owner had never given it to Poppy. He knew  that the token would give her new friends and he was worried that she would forget about him. He felt bad because he knew it was not nice to be jealous. He decided to make things right.

He went to look for the mean woman. When he found her, he said: “You made me see that I should be a nice dog and not a jealous one.  You helped me so I am going to help you. I want to make you a better person and make sure that you are not mean anymore.” The woman's face twisted with anger: “Why do you think I will listen to you. You are just a silly dog.”

Leroy said: “You should listen to me because it is better to be nice than to be mean. If everyone is nice to each other then we will all be happy. Nobody should be jealous of anyone else, we should all just help each other.”

The woman decided that the dog was right and she asked him if he had a friendship token. Leroy said: “No, because I don't have an owner.”

“I will be your owner and I will buy you a friendship token to wear around your neck . I promise I will never be mean again and I know that you and Poppy will always be friends,” she said.

A month later Poppy's owner had to move away and she could not take Poppy with her. Leroy asked his owner if Poppy could stay with them and she said: “Of course she can.” Leroy, Poppy and the woman lived happily ever after and they always had lots of friends to visit them .

Visit the You Can Foster website to find out more.