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Norwich science centre trying to inspire youngsters

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:58 01 July 2010

Some of the Inspire Discovery Centre story writing contest finalists.

Some of the Inspire Discovery Centre story writing contest finalists.

Sarah Hall

A Norwich attraction which is facing an uncertain future turned to the power of fiction to encourage Norwich people to embrace the wonders of science.

A Norwich attraction which is facing an uncertain future turned to the power of fiction to encourage Norwich people to embrace the wonders of science.

The Inspire Discovery Centre, based in St Michael's Church in Oak Street, aims to provide children young people and their families with a hands-on learning experience encouraging them to discover and enjoy scientific exploration.

But the registered charity last year faced a battle for survival because of a funding crisis. Although it successfully secured the money it needed to remain open, it still needs to get more people through its doors to keep going.

As a way of raising the centre's profile the centre organised a science writing competition for children and adults to show science is not just for people in white laboratory coats.

People were invited to pen a 3,000 word short story and the only stipulation was that there had to be some element of science - whether science fiction or science fact.

Judges included Andrew Cowan, author of the novel Pig and senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of East Anglia and Terry Molloy, who played Davros in Doctor Who.

Look East's Stewart White announced the winners at a ceremony on Friday night. The winners of each category were: Under 11s - Jazmin Barturm 'The Biology Set'; 12 to 17s - Rachel Plumb 'Boron Saves The Day', 18 and over - Anne Helme 'The Mysterious Fauna of the Regent's Canal'.

Alexandra Minns, from Inspire, said: “We were trying to think of ways of making science more accessible and that it is far removed from people in white coats in laboratories.

“We had a really good response and the quality of the stories was excellent. People wrote about a broad range of subjects, but in the under 11 category there was a definite theme about space and aliens. People really got into it and all the winning stories will be printed in an anthology.”

The Evening News has been encouraging people to make the most of the attractions on their doorstep through our Do Different Do Norfolk campaign.

The Inspire Discovery Centre is still looking for help to keep running and anyone who can help should visit www.saveinspire.com or call 01603 612612.

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