Christmas comes early for local schoolgirl

– Emma Russell won Thistles Christmas story writing competition and will see her story published –

Just in time for Christmas, Thistles shopping centre in Stirling, has crowned Emma Russell, aged 10 from P6 at St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School in Dunblane, the winner of its Christmas story writing competition.

Emma’s story was one of over 100 entries to the competition from local children across Stirling, Falkirk, and Clackmannanshire. The festive competition was part of Thistles ongoing #ThistlesHelps campaign, which aims to give back to the local community.

As part of her prize, budding storyteller Emma, and her classmates, received a visit from Alan Windram, author of the 2019 BookBug Picture Book Prize winning, One Button Benny. Alan spent time with Emma and her class to inspire the future generation of authors and help Emma to hone her winning story, ‘A Thistles Christmas Adventure’, which follows Kalo the naughty elf and his attempts to sabotage Christmas at Thistles.

On Christmas Eve, children from Stirling and beyond will be able to tune in (with the help of their grown up) to the Thistles Facebook page to hear Emma’s winning story, ‘A Thistles Christmas Adventure’ read out by Santa as the perfect bedtime story before the big day arrives.

Next year, Alan and Thistles will work with Emma to turn her winning story in to a picture book that will be published and sold with all proceeds donated to St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School’s 2023 fundraising efforts.

Alan Windram, Author, commented: “I was blown away with the calibre of entries to the competition. I read all 108 of them and the standard of each and every one was incredibly high. Every pupil who submitted a story should be very proud of themselves.

“Choosing a winner was a tough decision, but Emma’s story stood out thanks to her writing style, imaginative story line and I felt the true spirit of Christmas shone through. It was a wonderfully original Christmas story and will make a fantastic picture book.”

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “From everyone at Thistles, we want to give a massive congratulation to Emma. Her wonderful storyline captured all of our imaginations at the centre and made us smile.

“Thank you so much to each and every pupil who took the time to enter the competition, it was so difficult to pick just one, but I have a feeling Stirling and the surrounding area has a few Alan Windrams’ of the future and I encourage everyone to keep writing stories they love.”

To view Santa reading Emma’s story ‘A Thistles Christmas Adventure’, tune in to Thistles Facebook page at 6.30pm on Saturday 24th December.