A YOUNG wordsmith's inspiring story about an everyday hero has been published after she won a national competition.

More than 1,200 children entered Pearson's My Twist on a Tale writing contest and the winner of the North-East prize was Payton Twentyman – with a story about a woman who helps a homeless person.

The 11-year-old, from Witton Gilbert, County Durham, said: “I was shocked, but now I believe in myself more.”

Her story 'Crystal Virus’ follows Crystal who goes to pick up some medicine for her mother.

On her way she came across a homeless person and decided to give him some food, but when he refused she gave him some money instead.

With a huge smile on his face, he went to the local shop and bought hand sanitiser and a mask, announcing: "I’m rich, oh my god look what I have. Thank you!"

Crystal went home smiling, knowing that she had made his day.

Payton closed her story, saying: "Little things can help make a big difference, even through lockdown when you have to stay at home or social distance, it does not mean that you can’t enjoy and make other people’s day better."

The Northern Echo:

The story has been published alongside the work of 14 other young people from across the UK in My Twist on a Tale: Everyday Heroes Winning Stories, released today to coincide with World Book Day.

t can also be downloaded at go.pearson.com/mytwistonatale

Bethan Howells, who teaches Payton in Year 6 at Witton Gilbert Primary School, said: “I am so proud of Payton.

"We all enjoy her writing and it is great that she has been appreciated by the judges.

"Hopefully, this will boost Payton’s confidence and make her realise how awesome she is. Well done Payton.”

Publishing and education company, Pearson, encouraged four and 19-year-olds to let their imagination run wild when writing a story based on the Everyday Heroes theme.

Katy Lewis, head of English, drama and languages at Pearson, said: “Payton should be extremely proud of the story she has written.

"Her imagination and writing skills are outstanding.

"It was an incredibly difficult decision choosing from the 1,000+ stories we received, as they were all fascinating to read, but Payton’s piece really stood out and deserves its place alongside the other 14 winners who have built a collection of short stories that celebrate a diverse and modern-day Britain.”

“Following an extraordinary year of disruption, we wanted to give children the opportunity to write their own tales of people who have made a difference to them.

"It is so important that children and young people feel represented in the literature they read and the stories they write and so in writing their entries, whether that be a story about a hero in their local community, a key worker making a difference during the Covid-19 pandemic, a campaigner, a family member or friend that inspires them or even a hero from their imagination, we wanted children and young people to get creative and reflect their own personality, location and experiences as they bought their local crusader to life.

"The results were fascinating. Everyone who entered should be extremely proud of their hard work and creative flair.”