Budding Highfield author is a lockdown 'inspiration'

A Blackpool teen who used her lockdown experience to inspire others has been shortlisted for a for a prize in a prestigious,writing competition.
Budding writer Emily WhiteBudding writer Emily White
Budding writer Emily White

Would-be author Emily White, entered the Lancashire ‘Lockdown Diaries’ competition to share her own experience of living through lockdown with a rare genetic disease.

The 15 year-old was forced to spend months shielding from her friends and family because she suffers with Fabry Disease, an enzyme deficiency which affects the nervous system and can also cause organ damage.

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Emily, a pupil at Highfield Leadership Academy, was diagnosed with the illness in 2017 and her condition meant that she was forced into complete isolation for 12 weeks .

Faced with weeks of separation, the Year 11 pupil decided to channel her energy into her passion for writing and set about penning her story, “The Great Ascendancy”, which was one of only 10 entrants to make it onto the compeititon shortlist.

Her short tale describes the experience of a firefly captured in a glass jar and unable to interact with the outside world. It eventually gains its freedom and ascends into the sky.

For writer Emily, such freedoms could only be imagined during the heights of lockdown.

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She said: "I have always wanted to be a writer - I write all the time. When I saw the competition promoted through school I thought ‘why not?’.

"Living through lockdown and having to shield has been really difficult.

"I’m a naturally bubbly person, I love getting hugs from my family and friends and not being able to see anyone apart from my parents was hard.

"But the competition gave me a focus. I felt a real sense of freedom and connection with the outside world by sharing my story."

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The teenager added: "Coming out of isolation on my birthday was an amazing feeling. I spent the day horse riding. It was incredibly liberating – I have honestly never felt as free."

School principal Andrew Galbraith praised Emily for her achievement, which he said served as a reminder about the power of following dreams during times of adversity.

He said: "Emily is a wonderful pupil who has achieved so much during lockdown. She is a shining inspiration to us all".

The head added: "Emily has transformed what could have been an extremely negative and isolating experience into a positive and life-enriching achievement.

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"This transformation was achieved entirely through her own talent, vision and ability to overcome adversity.

"We are all incredibly proud of her and cannot wait to read more of her wonderful work."

The writing competition was organised by Future U and asked teenagers to write 500 words which captured their experience of lockdown.

Emily’s story will be published in a collection written by teenagers from across the county.