Herts and Beds children challenged to get creative during lockdown


The Bedford to St Albans Community Rail Partnership was launched last year with a wartime-themed event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Youngsters are being challenged to get creative during lockdown by taking part in train-themed art and writing competitions.

Thameslink and the Bedford to St Albans Community Rail Partnership, in collaboration with City Fiction, are launching a series of art and writing competitions this week to help keep children occupied while they remain at home.

As well as being rail-themed, the first in this series of short story competitions focuses on VE Day to commemorate the 75th anniversary. The competition is one of a series of activities being run by Govia Thameslink to support staff, passengers and local communities during this challenging time.

Forty-four schools, situated near Thameslink stations between Bedford and St Albans, have been invited to get involved and there are some great prizes up for grabs.

Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director, Tom Moran, said: “We play a proud part in the communities we serve and now, more than ever, we want to offer parents a helping hand in keeping children occupied and people connected as the lockdown continues. It feels particularly important to commemorate VE Day and remember the sacrifices made, especially as many gatherings and special events have been called off this year.”

Bedford-based author and City Fiction founder, Tony Drury, who will be judging the competition with his team, said: “The City Fiction authors are delighted to be involved in this innovative competition and relish the thought of reading the entries.”

For the short story competition, youngsters are challenged to submit a piece of no more than 500 words on the topic of ‘The Train Home.’ The eight to 11-year-old age group are asked to write about the thoughts of evacuated children returning home after the war and the feelings of those waiting to welcome them back on the platform. Youngsters aged 12 to 15 are tasked with writing about the thoughts of servicemen and women returning home after the war and the feelings of those waiting to welcome them back on the platform.

The winner in the eight to 11-year-old category will receive a family ticket voucher for Globalls crazy golf and the 12 to 15-year-old winner will be treated to a family return trip on Volk’s Electric Railway, plus a behind the scenes tour. Both attractions are based in Brighton, which can be reached on a Thameslink train from Beds and Herts, and the prizes will be available to enjoy once lockdown has lifted and the venues reopen.

The art competition is open to children up to the age of eight from participating schools with the theme ‘The Magical Train where each carriage has a different adventure’. Entries will be judged by local art societies. 

The deadline for both the art and writing competitions is May 11 and entries should be sent to Community@GTRailway.com

Further competitions will be planned at regular intervals during the lockdown period. For competition terms and conditions, visit https://tinyurl.com/BSACCRPMayComp