Spooky Havering: winner in Havering Museum teen fiction competition announced

The winner in the teenagers’ Hallowe’en fiction category of Havering Museum’s “Spooky Havering” competition has been announced.

“The Ghost of 1968” by Kelly Chapman takes first prize, while the runner-up is Isabelle Miller’s “His Secret”.

Prizes will be presented on Saturday, November 3, at Havering Museum, High Street, Romford. The stories were judged by Robbie Quantrill of QB Photography, Rainham, and Recorder reporter Ramzy Alwakeel.

You can read the winning entry below.

The Ghost of 1968 by Kelly Chapman

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It was Halloween. My grandchildren came to visit me in Havering.

Peter, Lucy and Billy where staying with me for the weekend. I didn’t allow them to go trick or treating.

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After a while they got bored and started making up stories.

“Can you make up one for us nan?” Peter asked.

“I don’t need to make one up, I know one...” I replied.

Their expressions were priceless.

“You know a REAL ghost story?” Billy asked.

“Of course I do. Havering is very old and is full of tales to tell.” I explained

“Nonsense nan!” Lucy blurted out.

“Oh, Lucy I forgot you don’t believe in ghosts. Well then, I’ll tell you a tale that’ll change your mind.” I told her.

Lucy rolled her eyes and sat on the arm chair.

“Now then,” I began, “here is a tale you won’t forget...”

Forty years ago, me and my school friends were at school.

There was Beatrice, Rose, me and your grandad Ted. We were the best of friends.

One day rose thought it’d be a good idea to go to somewhere haunted as it was Hallowe’en. We decided to go to the Golden Lion pub first for refreshments.

I got up to get us all some drinks and crisps.

“What can I get you?” a man asked.

“Could I have four bags of ready salted crisps and four lemonades please?”

“Coming right up!” the man replied.

He walked off and came back a short while later. I noticed he had some medals on him.

“Where did you get them?” I asked.

“Oh these, they’re my service medals,” he said

“How did you get them?” I inquired.

“It was October 1944, I was awarded for my services in the air force. The lads in France needed me more then anything as one of their officers has been shot down. So I had to go to France. So I got into the fighter plane and the mission wasn’t a success. Sadly my plane was...”

“You got them drinks yet?” Ted interrupted.

“Excuse me I’ll be back in a minute Tom,” I said and then I brought over the crisps and drinks.

“I was in the middle of an interesting conversation Ted!” I told him.

“Well, sorry I interrupted but we where getting a bit thirsty.” he replied.

“Well I’m going back over there to finish my conversation,” I told them and walked back to the bar. I waited for a bit, but couldn’t see Tom. A woman was serving.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Do you know where Tom is?”

“Who’s Tom?” she answered with a baffled look.

“The man working behind the bar” I told her.

“...........” she was thinking.

“The one with the medals!” I said.

“Oh, him? He was the landlord here before he went to war. He was a pilot. It was 1944 when he tragically died after being awarded some medals.”

“He couldn’t have died, I was talking to him just now!” I insisted.

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk, I’m busy.” And then the lady walked off.

I returned to our table puzzled.

“Vic, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Rose said.

“Yeah, you’re very pale,” Beatrice added.

“Oh, sorry it’s nothing.” I told them.

“Did you finish your conversation with the bar man?” Ted asked.

“In a way, yes I did.” I glanced over at the bar. And there he was. Tom winked at me and faded away behind the alcohol.

“Can we go to the Golden Lion pub tomorrow nan?” Lucy asked.

“Tomorrow? How about tonight? After all, it is Hallowe’en...”

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