Fi­nal Score by Alan R Davey

Let's Talk - - CONTENT -

Avery big thank you to all our read­ers and sub­scribers who en­tered this year’s Short Story Com­pe­ti­tion, spon­sored by Jar­rold. What a fab­u­lously tal­ented group of peo­ple you are! And what a tough job you gave our judges in se­lect­ing this year’s 12 star sto­ries.

Judg­ing has now taken place and we are de­lighted to re­veal the win­ner, sec­ond and third places and our nine run­ners-up, all of whose sto­ries you will be able to en­joy dur­ing the next 12 is­sues of Let’s Talk.

This year’s win­ner is Alan R Davey, of Low­est­oft, with The Fi­nal Score, his mov­ing story of a First World War veteran. The tale is set in Alan’s adopted home town and he ex­plained: “Low­est­oft is a won­der­ful town, quintessen­tially English, and I wanted to cel­e­brate its his­tory in my story as well as to mark next year be­ing the cen­te­nary of the end of the war.”

Chris Rushby, Jar­rold’s head book buyer, pre­sented Alan with his prize - a £250 voucher to spend at the Nor­wich store. Chris said: “We are de­lighted to spon­sor a com­pe­ti­tion which en­cour­ages creative writ­ing. Over the years we have had nu­mer­ous tal­ented peo­ple writ­ing on a va­ri­ety of sub­jects and in var­i­ous styles, but al­ways en­ter­tain­ing, thought- pro­vok­ing and part of that glorious tra­di­tion of East Anglia be­ing a hot­bed of writ­ing ex­cel­lence.”

Tak­ing sec­ond place in this year’s closely con­tested com­pe­ti­tion is Phyl­lis A Nor­rie of Holt in Nor­folk, whose story The Lion of Times Square is a real tear-jerker. Third place went to An Idea Lives On by Ed Broom of Ip­swich, a well­writ­ten tale about a sur­prise vis­i­tor. Phyl­lis and Ed both win a year’s sub­scrip­tion to Let’s Talk.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to all our win­ners and run­ners-up. If your story wasn’t picked this year, please don’t lose heart - start think­ing of a plot and char­ac­ters for your en­try to the 2018 com­pe­ti­tion!

Alan R Davey grew up in North Lon­don. His fa­ther was a self­em­ployed painter and dec­o­ra­tor who suf­fered lung dam­age as a fire­man dur­ing the Blitz. “Fa­ther was a bril­liant trades­man but an aw­ful busi­ness­man and would take all sorts of pay­ments for his work,” ex­plained Alan. “One time, in lieu of money he was given 5,000 books, so in our ram­shackle, bomb­bat­tered old house we had two at­tic rooms stuffed full of books - and from the age of six I started to read my way through them.”

His imag­i­na­tion was sparked by the sto­ries he read and it wasn’t long be­fore young Alan was writ­ing his own tales and sell­ing them for a penny to chil­dren in his neigh­bour­hood! One Christ­mas morn­ing, Alan woke to dis­cover his fa­ther had bor­rowed money to buy him a type­writer “be­cause he had faith in my abil­ity to write” - that faith was to keep him go­ing years later dur­ing his at­tempts at get­ting books pub­lished.

Alan had three much older broth­ers. Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War his brother Fred, al­ways called Denny, vol­un­teered into the 6th Air­borne and was killed while on a re­con­nais­sance mis­sion be­hind en­emy lines in Au­gust 1944.

“He was al­most 20 years old and he died about six months be­fore I was born,” said Alan. “I have al­ways felt that the only way to ‘re­pay’ the sac­ri­fice Denny made is to live my own life to the full, to use what skills and abil­i­ties I have to en­hance the lives of as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, and to help oth­ers make the most of their tal­ents and op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Alan, now 72 and mar­ried to Shirley for 50 years, has had a var­ied and suc­cess­ful ca­reer, which has in­cluded run­ning his own busi­nesses, train­ing as a coun­sel­lor, and liv­ing in dif­fer­ent parts of the country be­fore mov­ing to Low­est­oft three years ago. The cou­ple knew the area from the 1970s when he was as­sis­tant man­ager of the Abbey Na­tional bank in Nor­wich.

Writ­ing has al­ways been part of Alan’s life and now in re­tire­ment he is see­ing suc­cess for his work - not only in our short story com­pe­ti­tion.

Alan R Davey (third from left) ac­cepts his win­ner’s voucher from Chris Rushby, Jar­rold’s head book buyer, as he is con­grat­u­lated by Ca­r­ole Slaugh­ter, mar­ket­ing man­ager of Jar­rold (left) and Let’s Talk edi­tor Angi Kennedy (right).

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