Paddy Roche aged nine and a pupil at Rushbrook National School in Cobh is the recent winner of the junior category of the Specsavers Children’s Writing Competition in association with Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards.

Pictured at Specsavers Midleton in Cork, Paddy beat hundreds of entries and has received all shortlisted titles in the Specsavers Irish Children’s Book of the Year category from this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.

Paddy’s school will also receive a donation of some of the best shortlisted Irish books from the last year.

Paddy's winning story:

Saving the Arctic

Once there were two boys named Tommy and Michael.

They went to Spain and went on a ride on a paddle boat; they paddled and paddled, when suddenly they realized that they had reached the North Pole. When they realised it, they also felt like they were being watched. They looked around them and shivered when they saw a polar bear and some seals that looked very angry. They tried to pedal away but the current took them away to shore where the polar bears had gathered with the seals. They knew they were in trouble so they tried to paddle out again. They got out past the current and there was no sign of the seals or polar bears.

They were glad but not for long.

The polar bears and seals formed a circle around them. Then suddenly a huge narwhal jumped out of the water and scared them all away. The head polar bear shouted at them - 'I'll get you kids'. They thought it couldn't get any weirder but then the narwhal appeared and actually spoke to them - 'you will be safe if you stay with me', he said. They thought about it and Tommy said 'but we can't live under water, we won’t be able to breathe'.

This left them with no choice but to fend for themselves.

They found a cave where they thought the polar bears and seals wouldn't get them. They eventually got to sleep but when they woke up it was so dark that they thought their eye balls were out of their sockets. When they woke up fully they still couldn't see anything at all. Suddenly a polar bear was almost on top of them. They saw a place where they could get away from him so they ran.

Suddenly, the polar bear shouted at them to stop.

They remembered that he could speak so they asked him - 'why did you try to kill us?' He said - 'a little bird told me that humans are destroying the arctic, the ice is melting and we have nowhere to hunt from - also the baby bears and penguins have no ice slides to play on'.

Tommy and Michael said their teacher had told them that alright and that they were sorry. They said that they would spread the word to other humans and everyone in Spain so that everyone could work to save the arctic. The Polar Bear said thanks and that he would help them get to Spain as it was a long journey back. When they got home, first they told their friends, then their family, then they told the city, then they travelled to different countries telling the message and their stories.

In time, everybody stopped damaging the world and then the animals and humans had peaceful lives together.

Pic: Ger McCarthy

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