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AN AMAZING 26,000 youngsters took part in a county wide reading challenge this summer.

And more than 16,400 four to 11–year–olds received a medal and certificate for reading six books over the summer holidays in Hampshire Library Service’s inspirational Circus Stars challenge.

Councillor Keith Chapman, in charge of culture and recreation at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘I am delighted that so many children took up the summer reading challenge this year.

‘It is a great way for children to maintain and improve their reading skills before they return to school.

‘This year’s figures show a fantastic commitment from library staff and volunteers in getting children involved and listening to children talk about the books they have read.

‘We hope that next year’s challenge will be just as exciting and that even more people will complete the challenge.’