Stories of the Sea winners get to bury time capsule
The winners of the Stories of the Sea competition organised by ABP in association with True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum and the Lynn News were crowned on Friday.
The children went to King’s Lynn Docks to receive the generous prizes provided by ABP for their writing efforts.
The competition was open to those aged between nine and 16 at school in Norfolk.
Stories could be no longer than 1,000 words and they could be on any subject, true or fiction, but reflecting the strong connection between Lynn and the sea, and they had to have some mention of the ocean in there.
First prize went to Jacob Chalke, aged 13, a pupil at St Clement’s High, for his story ‘Submersible Sid the Sandbank Kid’. He won a £200 book voucher for himself and £600 for his school.
The runner-up was Thalia Sunday, aged 10, of Clenchwarton, who won a £100 book voucher and third was William Beck, of King’s Lynn Academy, who won £50.
But the youngsters had an added bonus to their day because to celebrate the 15oth anniversary of the docks last year, ABP planted a time capsule in the ground by the 19th-century St Ann’s Fort, close to the Port Office.
All three contributed with personal items in the time capsule, which also contained their stories.
It is intended to leave the time capsule buried for 25 years for it to be retrieved in 2044 for the 175th anniversary.
The competition was judged by Paul Richards, of True’s Yard Museum, Mark Leslie, Lynn News editor, and Kim Kennedy, port manager for ABP.
Kim said: “I had a really enjoyable winter’s afternoon sitting in the office reading all the stories. They were so enjoyable, funny and some of them moving too. The standard was tremendous so well done to everyone who took part, we had lots of entries.”
Submersible Side The Sandbank Kid by Jacob Chalke
The morning had started as normal. Arthur Sidney Pratt (known as Sid) had stolen silently out of his family home, stealing breakfast from his mother’s pantry on his way.
He whistled as he walked the short journey to the local pilot’s office from the North End, drawing shouts of disdain from his neighbours who were disturbed from their sleep by his early recital.
As he walked via Chapel Lane and the exorcist’s house, the frosty dappled dawn light and a cold February breeze raised the hairs on the back of his neck. He always shuddered here and felt something watching him.
He focussed his thoughts on the day ahead. Sid was a Pilot boat operator. Every day he would meet, guide and sail ships from near and far, ready to guide them in and out of the River Ouse, using the Alexandra Dock as a gateway.
He could navigate his way through the turbulent tidal waters, using his local knowledge to direct his journey. After receiving the list of expected vessels into the Alexandra Dock, he began his usual repetitive but exhaustive tasks. Little did he know how unpredictably today’s events would unfold..
After two successful journeys, with satisfied pilots and resting crew, he began his voyage towards the third and final vessel-a wind powered ship that needed to be brought in from the Stylemans Middle (a sandbank in the Wash). Sid clumsily clambered aboard the wind-powered boat, signalling the original pilot to return to shore with the other pilot boat operator.
‘See ya in a jiffy bois’! he shouted towards the departing pilot boat. He knew he would be waiting here for a few hours while the tide changed, so he made himself comfortable inside the wheelhouse. Once again, he whistled away to himself, counting the newly emerging raindrops pitter pattering on the roof of the wheelhouse. The gentle rocking quickly lulled him to sleep.
After a few hours,waking suddenly, Sid felt alarmed. The boat’s gentle rocking had become violent, slamming him into the door of the wheelhouse which stayed shut. This was followed by numerous colossal waves, which crashed repeatedly over the side of the boat spilling an unhealthy amount of water on deck. He knew there was no way to sail the boat home through these conditions. He would have to wait out the storm. Wave after wave made the boat lurch from one side to another. Sid began to panic as he realised with petrifying fear that the boat was taking on too much water. Panicking and feeling unprepared, Sid searched around and found a metal bucket. He left the warmth of the wheelhouse to begin pointlessly shovelling water off the deck. Life or death.
The smell of the storm hit Sid’s nostrils at the same time as the sound of the wind hit his eardrums. The howling gusts of wind deafened his thoughts and the rain lashed his face like miniscule blades. Unsteady on his feet, Sid noticed the boat was pulling against the anchor-beginning to overturn. He lost his balance and once again slammed into the wheelhouse door, the force of his fall encouraging the boat’s lean into the water.
The boat lost consciousness as its wheelhouse forcefully slammed into the murky undulating sea. Sid knew he would have to swim now as the boat tipped him into the water. He smashed into what felt concrete as he hit the ice-cold sea waters and the cold-water shock had knocked the wind of him like the shockwave of an atomic bomb. The boat had flipped sideways and started disappearing below the turbulent waters.
It was at this moment, that Sid had realised he had to swim to save his life.It was hard work putting one hand in front of the other and trying to move it through the water in the violent waves. The ice-cold February sea lapped over his ears as he struggled to float. His muscles weakened with every stroke of his arms and the lactic acid built up inside him ready to take over. His youthful baby face contradicted his age and responsibility. However, his once perfectly manicured quiff stuck slick to his face as if it were grasping for survival of its own. His heavy eyes furrowed as thoughts of his family flitted back and forth through his mind. The drowning weight of his waders, heavy fisherman’s sweater and his formal blazer-which designated his office status- overtook his muscles. Pushing firmly through the increasingly resistant water, his grip on reality began to fade away. He thought he heard the voice of his mother; He could have sworn he smelt his last meal;battered fish and chips from his favourite chippy. He felt the soft lips of his first love...but this jolted him back to reality. He thought he was done for. For all he knew, this was the end. Endings were supposed to be happy. He hadn’t planned to die today...
As he accepted his fate, he felt a sense of calm. Resigning himself to death, he let his legs be dragged down. He spread his arms wide as the rain began to soften and the howling wind lessened. he felt his final strength disappear as his body finally succumbed to the sea...
But what was that? Was it something underfoot? He felt around with his boot as renewed strength kept his chin above the water. A large smile spread across his face. He turned in the water, breathlessly laughing as he saw the leaning hull of his vessel resting upon the Sandbank floor, the waves now gently lapped against his shoulders. Relief and disbelief crossed his mind as he realised how close to safety he was. His laugh echoed through the spent air as the storm subsided. He knew, now he had survived that this would be a tale for his grandchildren.
More by this authorMark Leslie