Lady Margaret pupils honour friend Natasha with writing competition

A literary career beckons for Nefertari Williams who won top prize in a closely contested competition for new writing.

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Winners of Lady Margaret’s annual creative writing competition

A literary career beckons for Nefertari Williams, whose powerful words, laced with original imagery, won her top prize in a closely contested competition for new writing.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water, by the 15-year-old student from Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green, was judged the best of 120 entries in a contest honouring Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, whose death from an allergic reaction to eating a baguette prompted a change in the law on ingredient labelling.

Her parents, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse of Lillie Road, who helped create a new law to close a loophole in food legislation, presented cash prizes after the whole of Year 10 at Natasha’s former school took part.

“It is really wonderful that the Lady Margaret pupils get behind Natasha’s competition, and it is a credit to the school that the entries are of such a high level,” said Nadim.

Brianna Wallace Sousa’s entry, Festa Junina, won second place, with Laura Gordon Smith gaining the third prize for My Threads in a contest coordinated by head of English Rachel Alexander.


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Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died from an allergic reaction after eating a baguette

Judge Mark Godowski, who selected winners from a 25-strong shortlist, described Nefertari’s prose poetry as “a compelling work which deploys a range of techniques – lively rhythms, internal rhymes and surprising combinations of words – to create a powerful evocation of a hybrid heritage”.

There were also commendations for students Amy Wiedmer, Hannah Bequart, Aryana Kordestani, Malak Chelqi and Angel Garcia in a challenge centred on the theme of Heritage, prompting entries celebrating Nigeria, Morocco, the Caribbean, Iraq, Malaysia, Canada… and Crystal Palace!

Natasha’s Law

Natasha’s Law will come into effect in three months, forcing businesses to fully label the ingredients of freshly made sandwiches, salads and cakes – foods previously exempt.

The 15-year-old student died from an allergic reaction to eating a Pret a Manger baguette in the summer of 2016 after collapsing on a flight from Heathrow to France.

Both Natasha and Nadim had checked the label carefully before getting on the plane, because of Natasha’s severe allergy to milk, eggs and sesame seeds, but a loophole meant the ingredient list was incomplete.

Despite being given adrenaline shots from two EpiPens by her father, Natasha was declared dead at hospital in Nice the same day.

A charity that her parents set up works on further potentially life-saving legislation, as well as educating the hospitality industry on risks and general research into allergies. Fulham born and bred, Natasha had been working towards a career in human rights and combating injustice.

Charitable work

Lady Margaret’s annual creative writing competition was set up to celebrate one of the student’s great strengths at school. The Ednan-Laperouses’ work has also informed H&F Council safety policy after statistics showed a 615% rise in hospital admissions for allergic reactions in the past two decades.

The Ednan-Laperouses were made OBEs to mark their charitable work in tackling food allergies that affects two million people in the UK.

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Tanya (left), Alex (centre) and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse

Here are the prizewinning entries:

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