A SCHOOL in the Ribble Valley is hoping that fairy tales can come true after reaching the finals of the prestigious Times Education School Awards.

Bosses and pupils at St Mary’s RC School in Chipping are buzzing with excitement after being nominated for an ‘Outstanding Community Contribution’ award for their Storytelling Festival initiative.

The ‘Amongst the Fells’ festival of myths and legends has already gained the school a Learning Excellence Award in recognition for ‘Innovative Practice’ from Lancashire County Council’s Education department.

They are now looking forward to following in Dick Whittington’s footsteps as they head towards the bright lights of London where the gala TES awards ceremony is to be held on June 17.

Every year the school children and their families transform the village and familiar characters from myths and legends are seen promenading around as the local community enter into the spirit of performing tales.

Founder of the event and passionate about storytelling, head teacher Chris Stringer believes that “everyone has their own story to tell” so last year she gave visitors an opportunity to join in on the ‘people’s stage’ and tell their own stories.

Ms Stringer said: “I got into storytelling as a child. Every night my dad would read me a fantastic bedtime story which often involved dragons, princes and damsels waiting to be rescued.

“These were the best stories ever – because they were told from the heart, not read from a book. I passed these stories on to my children – I hope this will continue now.

“I started the festival three years ago and each year there is a different theme.

“The children and their families are the chief storytellers along with teachers, members of the community and the odd professional storyteller. The atmosphere in the village on the day is fantastic, with villagers dressed up as storybook characters and different venues hosting the events.

This year’s festival on July 11 focuses on a medieval stories from daring knights to princess-devouring dragons, acted out by the children and families.