Crispin Blunt MP presents 2020 winner of Reigate and Banstead Writes competition with prize.

Crispin Blunt MP presents 2020 winner of Reigate and Banstead Writes competition with her prize. (Monday 15th June).

Orla McNally, a pupil at Reigate Grammar School, is the winner of R&B Writes 2020. She should have met Crispin Blunt MP and award-winning author Vashti Hardy at a celebration afternoon at the Harlequin Theatre. Instead, a socially distant celebration took place at The Warwick School, Redhill on 15th June.

Orla penned a magnificent story about Reigate’s pigeons set during WWII. Her winning entry was unanimously praised by the competition’s judges.

There is an interesting backstory behind Orla’s masterpiece. Orla was inspired by memories shared by friend and former Reigate resident, Brenda Howlett-Nye (herself a published author). Brenda’s grandfather, Frederick Howlett was the Chief Inspector of Reigate Police during WWII. In his spare time, he kept pigeons. His birds took on an important espionage role during WWII. They fearlessly conveyed secret messages out of war-torn Europe all the way back to the fortress on Reigate Hill.

Sophie Pither a Year 6 pupil at St. Joseph’s Primary School, Redhill came 2nd whilst Ella Dutton from The Warwick School came 3rd.

The independent judging panel, consisting of local teachers, public librarians, journalists, and local councillors had difficult choices to make this year and they reported a ‘very high standard’.

Orla received her prize, sponsored by the Community Fund for Reigate and Banstead, from Crispin Blunt MP. The Community Fund for Reigate and Banstead, which is the chosen charity for this year's Mayor of Reigate and Banstead, Cllr. Rosemary Absalom is a growing local philanthropic fund that provides support specifically to local projects which tackle need and disadvantage across the borough of Reigate and Banstead which has been especially active supporting local charities during the Coronavirus crisis.

More information on Reigate and Banstead Writes can be found here:

More information about The Community Fund for Reigate and Banstead can be found here: