CREATIVE teenagers will get the chance to have their writing talents judged by author Alexander McCall Smith as part of a competition to raise funds for the Sick Kids hospital.
Fifth and sixth years across Edinburgh are being invited to submit entries for the new contest, organised by the hospital’s Friends Foundation.
The entries will be judged by the author and the winning piece from each of the two age categories will be read out at the charity’s Carols for Christmas service, to be held in St Cuthbert’s Church on December 6.
This year’s celebrity guests – who will be reading out the winning entries – have yet to be revealed, although past guests have included actress Siobhan Redmond, Taggart star Blythe Duff, Rebus actress Jennifer Black, and actress and comedienne Una McLean.
Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said: “This year we decided to open up the [Carols for Christmas] event to young people across the Capital, giving a pupil from S5 and S6 the opportunity to write a piece which will be read aloud by one of the special guest attendees to an audience of around 400 members of the public and Edinburgh luminaries.
“The competition is a fantastic opportunity for our young people to get their writing noticed by some very influential names.”
The concert will include a programme of carols sung by an Edinburgh school choir as well as the readings – which will include a mixture of traditional and humorous poems and prose – performed by a host of special guests.
The charity hopes the service and evening dinner reception at the Signet Library can help raise £25,000.
Ms Harrison added: “The funds raised on the evening are used by the foundation to provide extra medical equipment, additional family facilities, training, research and a myriad of comforts and treats for children at the hospital.”
Stephen Dunn, group HR director of the Miller Group, which is sponsoring the service, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring this highly prestigious event.
“The Sick Kids Friends Foundation has our full support in opening up this competition to S5 and S6 pupils.”
The closing date for entries to the writing competition is November 11.
For more details, visit www.edinburghsickkids.org