A SCHOOLGIRL has stood out above 17,000 entrants to rank in the top 10 of a national writing contest.

Holly Dunn from Witney, 10, has been named as one of the best young writers in the Explore Learning Writers' Awards and is still in the running for the winner.

The competition invited children to submit stories with the theme 'a chance to change the world.'

Singer and Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, who is also a children's author, will judge the final 10 and surprise the winner with a visit to their school on Thursday, June 20.

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The winning writer will also get a trip to Disneyland Paris for their family and £500 worth of books for their school.

Holly, a pupil at The Batt CE Primary School in Witney, was named the South East regional finalist for her 500-word story The Golden Knickers.

Charlotte Gater, head of curriculum at Explore Learning, said: "Holly has done so well to make it to the top 10 in this year's writing competition.

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"To fight off competition from thousands of children across the UK is no mean feat and they should be hugely proud of their achievements.

"We started the competition to inspire the next generation of young writers and we hope that we have done exactly that, giving the next Roald Dahl, David Walliams or Alesha Dixon oodles of confidence in their creative abilities."

About 170 regional finalists were picked from the initial entries, including Oxford 12-year-old Ella Hardy, which were whittled down to 41 regional winners, then the top 10.