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Writers' websites take off a website launched by the Derby Evening Telegraph in January 2000 has announced the £1,000 winner of its first non-fiction writing competition.

More than 1,000 entries were received from people all over the UK and abroad writing about their real life experiences.

A spin-off from the competition has been that the articles have been made available to regional papers to use.

Readers’ stories from the site have appeared in papers such as the South Wales Evening Post, Lincolnshire Echo, Tamworth Herald and Leicester Mercury as well as the Derby Telegraph.

After a week of difficult deliberations, judges chose Changed Forever By A Single Day, written by Nigel Vardy of Belper, as the winner. It told how his love of mountain climbing almost cost him his life.

He intends to put his £1,000 prize towards publishing a book about his adventure.

Runner-up was Martelle McPartland, of County Armagh, whose powerful entry Images told of the terrible scenes she witnessed as a nurse working in Belfast. She won 12 non-fiction books from WH Smith.

There were also prizes of £50 and a £30 book voucher for the third and fourth placed entries.

Editor of, Julie Weston, said: “I have read every story and have been genuinely amazed by the standard of the entries. So many of them have been compelling from the first sentence to the last.

“Some have moved me to tears, others have made me laugh out loud. It was an immensely difficult task choosing the winners.”

The success of the competition has prompted the Telegraph to launch a second one – again with a £1,000 top prize – and the closing date is November 22.

Visit the website to learn more and read some of the entries.

Any of these article can now be purchased for use in other publicationss for a flat fee of £40 per article. Of this fee, £20 will go to the author and £20 will go towards running costs of the site.

For more details, ring Julie Weston on 01332 291111 ext. 6457.

Meanwhile, the Newsquest Media Group has also launched a website, to publish true stories written by readers of its newspapers. As yet no prize money is on offer.

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