A teenager today told how she is organizing a world record attempt in a bid to bring her community together.
Toni Francis-Kearns, 15, hopes one million people will write down their wishes for the world and send them to her.
The youngster and 15 of her fellow pupils from Grace Academy in Coventry are aiming to smash the Guinness World Record for the most entries to a writing competition.
They have the backing of the Brit Writers’ Awards Unpublished 2010, the UK’s biggest ever competition for unpublished authors, and hope to use the record bid to raise awareness of children charity When You Wish Upon A Star.
Toni and the other pupils from Grace Academy are asking everyone in Coventry and the wider West Midlands to write down their most heartfelt wishes and send them into the school. But there’s one condition – the wishes can’t be materialistic.
Toni explained: “By asking people to write down their wishes we want to get them communicating and get them thinking about what they want for the future. Not just for themselves but for the whole of their communities and even the wider world.
“Material wishes aren’t allowed. We don’t want people wishing for a new Playstation or a lottery win. We want people to think about things a little deeper than that.
“We are hoping to promote reading and writing in a creative way. It’s a different way of letting people of all ages know that reading and writing can be fun.”
She said her own wish had been one of the first to be written down and entered onto the school’s computer.
“I wished that one day people wouldn’t feel pressure to fit in. That people can express themselves without fear of prejudice and persecution.”
She admitted her target of one million wishes was ambitious – but revealed she only needs over a thousand to beat the current world record.
“One million is a big number but you have to have a target and why not set an ambitious goal? I am confident that we will break the world record. It will be a real thrill to see our name in the Guinness Book of World Records.”
Teacher Philippa Hogg said she was very impressed by the dedication of Toni and her fellow pupils.
She said: “We developed the wish writing project as part of our Brit Writers’ Awards membership and thought it would be a great way to capture the dreams of our local area.
“The 16 pupils who have worked on the project and put together the world record attempt have all been fantastic. They had a vote to elect a manager at the start of the project and Toni was elected unanimously.”
She added that the pupils hope the record attempt will raise awareness of the work of the charity When You Wish Upon A Star which make wishes come true for hundreds of sick and terminally ill children every year.
Anyone can support the world record bid and be part of the project by simply entering 100 to 150 words outlining their wish at www.britwriters.co.uk/worldrecord . Imran Akram, of Brit Writers’ Awards Unpublished 2010, said the world record attempt was one of many exciting initiatives making up the UK’s largest ever creative writing competition.
He said: “It’s fantastic that Toni and the team from Grace Academy are going for a world record attempt as part of our competition.
“They are taking the idea out into their community and that’s a great way to spread the word and involve as many people as possible.
“Our awards are open to anyone of any age. There are thousands of school children taking part but also parents and grandparents – the competition is open to all.”
The Brit Writers’ Awards have been backed by the leaders of all three major political parties.
In a statement Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “I am delighted to give my full support to the Brit Writers’ Awards Unpublished 2010.
“The Brit Writers’ Awards is not only another good way to develop individual creative writing for all ages, but a wonderful opportunity to increase understanding and respect within today’s Britain.
“I would like to congratulate you on creating another excellent event, and also to wish all participating writers the very best of luck for the 2010 awards.”
The submission deadline for the Brit Writers’ Awards is 26 February – entrants can submit poems and songs as well as stories. There will be winners in each category and a cash prize of £10,000 for the overall winner. To find out more please visit www.BritWriters.co.uk .
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