TEENAGE winners of a writing competition have been treated to a tour of the Gazette’s offices.

Overall winner Erin Smith and runners-up Bethany Hollis and William Cox took an hour out of school to sit in on a news conference and watch the paper being put together at our Colchester offices.

The teenagers were chosen from dozens of entries in the competition, jointly organised by Tutor Doctor Colchester North and Write Wai PR and Copywriting Services.

James Wills, editor of the Gazette, said: “It was fantastic to see so many youngsters interested in writing and considering a future in journalism.

“We really enjoyed showing them how a newspaper is run and look forward to seeing them again.”

Entrants were invited to submit their own article as the basis of their competition entry.

They were asked to either come up with their own idea, or adapt a story they had seen in the Gazette.

Thurstable School pupil Erin won first prize, a Kindle Fire e-reader, for her storyabout ebola.

Runner-up Bethany, from Colne Community College, Brightlingsea wrote about older people in the town, while joint second-placed William, who goes to Colchester High School, wrote about the Nayland village shop. Both took home Amazon vouchers.

James Cracknell, of Tutor Doctor, thanked all the entrants and said he hoped the competition would be repeated next year.

He added: “All the entries were excellent, but our winners particularly stood out.”

Sally Anderson-Wai, of Write Wai, said: “I was a journalist with regional and national media for more than 20 years and it is great to be able to encourage these young people, who are on the threshold of choosing which career path to take.

“The standard of all the entries for our competition was very high.

“We had a difficult job choosing any winners, but the winners stood out because they had gone the extra mile and shown the initiative inherent in any reporter.

“Their stories were more original in content, they had done their own research and showed great use of language.”