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Young Lancashire story contest winner congratulated by Duchess of Cambridge

Credit: PA Images

A girl from Lancashire who won a national story contest was among young writers praised by the Duchess of Cornwall for their "brilliant" efforts.

10-year-old Amabel Smith from Chorley won gold in the older age category of the 500 Words competition with a futuristic tale about a society where people are not allowed to leave home and live their lives through computers.

The finalists were invited to a prize-giving ceremony staged at St James's Palace.

In Amabel's winning entry, a girl breaks convention and goes for a run, watched by a boy who has also defied the state by hacking into a government satellite, and he sees her on the streets.

The 10-year-old winner said:

'I got in the top 50 last year and I thought I might come third.'

"I really wanted to write a story where there are two people telling their own story from their own point of view.'

"The election was coming up and I thought what would happen if a government was elected and did something bad with the country - they might want more power.'

Credit: PA Images

The Duchess Camilla told the winners, who were gathered with their parents at the St James' Palace: 'Like climbing through the wardrobe into Narnia, stories open doors into different worlds. They stretch imagination and get our brains buzzing.'

'We fall in love with heroes and heroines and can't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens. We meet impossible people, travel to remote places and make hundreds of new friends.'