Former journalist Wendy scoops creative writing prize

Date: Monday 3rd December 2018

A FORMER journalist who relocated to Penrith has won the top national Women’s Institute prize for creative writing.

Wendy Walker, who is 75 and lives in Hunter Lane, is part of Penrith WI and has been awarded first prize in the Lady Denman Cup Competition 2018.

She had to write no more than 500 words on the subject “The day that changed my life”.

Wendy, who was a reporter for nearly 40 years, wrote about an interview for her first job with the Swindon Evening Advertiser when she was just 16 years old. She said: “I remember I went off to this job interview wearing my best frock.”

She said that, at the time, she was also taking ballroom dancing lessons and for months she had been dancing with the same boy who never spoke to her.

“I got the job, they said I could come back when I was 17 — but what I was really thinking about was what was going to happen that night,” she added.

She said it had been a challenge, the hardest part was keeping it to 500 words, and she was surprised when she heard she had won.

She added: “They sent me a lot of book tokens which I have spent on my next academic project. I thought it was a mistake, which is why I went out and spent the book tokens straight away.”

Wendy said she planned to research Vikings in Cumbria and had already bought four books for her project.

She said there was so much talent in the WI and it was the first thing she got involved with when she moved to Penrith just over four years ago.

“I’d been coming up to Penrith for some years, a couple of times a year,” she said. “It was a place I wanted to live for the rest of my life — I thought I’d make the jump before I was too old to make the decision.”

She said she would encourage other women to get involved with the organisation, adding: “I’d love to see more younger members, I really would.”

The Penrith group meets on the second Monday of every month in the Evergreen Hall from 7-30pm.