David St John Thomas founded Writers’ News 25 years ago and still wrote a regular column for the magazine right up until his death. Prior to that he ran the publishing company David & Charles.
A lot of writers will remember him for his work with the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust. The Trust was created with some of the money from the sale of David & Charles. It ran a wide range of writing competitions and also provided bursaries to students taking part in useful work in the developing world.
It was through the competitions organised by the Trust that David briefly touched my life. I was the winner of the 2006 David St John Thomas Charitable Trust Letter Writer of the Year Award. I met David at the presentation event in Harrogate. He was very friendly and it was a lovely event.
It was the final year that the competition ran and so I was able to keep the silver cup that went with the £100 prize.
This Letter Writing Competition was a wonderful way of encouraging new writers. It entailed compiling a portfolio of letters published in magazines and newspapers over a 12 month period and so was accessible to a wide range of people who may not yet have had success in any other area of writing.
So I’d like to say my own personal thank you to David St John Thomas for the encouragement that that competition win gave to me.
Finally, and in the spirit of encouraging other writers, if you’d like to try out your letter writing skills, this competition offers £30 each month to the writer of the best letter of complaint.