Scare us - and win a £100 gift card!

The church at Portchester Castle is meant to be home to the ghosts of monks.
The church at Portchester Castle is meant to be home to the ghosts of monks.
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

Your chance to trace past family members on the web

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CAN you write a gripping ghost story to get toes curling and hairs standing up at Christmas?

We’ve launched our popular Christmas

writing competition, when

we ask you to think scary and

spooky as you pen a festive

tale.

Just like Portsmouth’s liter-

ary legend Charles Dickens,

who wrote the all-time classic

A Christmas Carol, we want

you to come up with stories

that have a festive flavour.

The only rules are that your

story must be no more than

1,000 words long, be all your

own work and have a Christ-

mas theme.

There are two age catego-

ries – one for authors aged 15

and under and one for those

aged 16 and over.

We’ll be publishing the

entries of the winners and

runners-up in each category

in The News in the run-up to

Christmas.

There are also prizes to be

won – as well as the thrill of

seeing their stories in print

and recorded for portsmouth.co.uk

the two winners will each get a £100 gift card to spend at any branch of Waterstones.

We’ve also got a runner-up prize in each category of a £75

gift card.

Waterstones has the best newly-published titles alongside classic gifts to make your Christmas shopping easier, plus you’ll now find the brand new Kindle Fire and two versions of the Kindle Fire HD instore. Waterstones also offers the most sought-after Christmas gifts including calendars, audio-books, travel guides and children’s books, annuals and games..

Visit your local Waterstones at 115 Commercial Road, Portsmouth PO1 1BU (0843 290 8557) or 22-24 Thackery Mall, Fareham Shopping Centre, Fareham PO16 0PQ (0843 290 8329) or go to waterstones.com.

Last year the 16-and-over category was won by Nick Fletcher.

The 27-year-old, from Victoria Road South, Southsea, wrote about somebody working for a company called Festive Cheer, dressing as Santa to deliver presents to an orphanage.

He had one present left in his sack, but discovered the girl for whom it was intended was a ghost.

Mark Waldron, editor of

The News, said: ‘I’m looking

for stories that have a festive

flavour, but which also have

the power to send a shiver

down the spine.’

HOW TO ENTER

ALL you need to do is write a spooky ghost story with a Christmas theme.

It must be no more than 1,000 words long and it must be all your own work – but apart from that, the style and content is entirely up to you.

You can e-mail your story to features@thenews.co.uk marking it XMAS GHOST STORY in the subject field,

Or you can post it to: Christmas Ghost Story Competition, Features Department, The News, News Centre, Hilsea, Portsmouth, PO2 9SX.

However you enter, please make sure you include your full name, address and a daytime phone number, plus which category you are entering - 15 years and under, or 16 years and over. The competition closes at midnight on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. The editor’s decision is final.