On Thursday 12 June the final of the Dickens Reading Competition took place at Holy Trinity Church in Broadstairs. The competition is held annually as part of the Broadstairs Dickens Festival and is now in its third year. Schools from Thanet had been invited to take part and the competition was split into two age groups: a Junior group from Years 7, 8 and 9 and a Senior group from Years 10, 11, 12 and 13. Entrants were required to read a passage from a piece of writing by Charles Dickens, lasting between five and eight minutes in length, and the event was open to the public as part of the festival. The passages chosen by entrants represented an interesting mix, ranging from The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist through to David Copperfield and Great Expectations.
Michael Wheatley-Ward, Director of the Sarah Thorne Theatre Club, co-ordinated the competition and was joined in judging it by University of Kent Dickens experts, Malcolm Andrews, Emeritus Professor of English, and Catherine Waters, Reader in Victorian Studies.
The judges were extremely impressed by the standard of the entries with the performance of many absorbing readings making the final decision difficult. However, two winners were chosen: Lizzie Friend from the Juniors and Johanna Pearson Farr from the Seniors (pictured). Congratulations to Lizzie and Johanna and well done to everyone else that took part!