The warm introductions given by Issy Cory and Bella Straughn-Poels to this year's dozen contestants paved the way for stories warmer still. Yes, Paddington came to Woodbridge (no doubt via Liverpool Street and an escalator or two...), and the audience could not have been more delighted. Those of you familiar with the books, TV or films will know Paddington well - but there is still nothing quite like the written word read aloud to allow the listener the chance to invent the most wonderful imagery capable of outstripping even the cleverest CGI. And so it was for us. First Year 7: Zaid Toubasey, Chloe Macmillan, Amelie Field and Caitlyn Maggs welcomed our traveller and helped him clean behind his ears and almost everywhere else. Then Chase Vincent, Elise Ottley and Amy Goddard of Year 8 helped him on his way into London up and down and up and down and up.... and down the escalators. And Noah Prescott, John Hendry, Sophie Ralph, Gabrielle McKay and Sebbie Ward of Year 9 made hay, chaos and joy in the very famous Barkridges department store. Exhausted, the judges retired to deliberate, while we were left to treasure one more story thanks to last year's winner Tom Scoggins as he brought Paddington victory in the painting competition - it's not every day a bear wins first prize... And talking of prizes, our thanks must go to the panel of judges Oliver Waldron, Anya Trevor-Pallares, Izzy Morgan and Miss King who undertook the extremely difficult task of separating the excellent from the excellent. Their conclusion? The Ayres Cup passes to Elise, with Amelie and Sebbie close behind. But on a night like this, with so much pleasure shared, everyone's a winner - our thanks and congratulations to one and all, and of course to Dr Renshaw and the English department for the delightfully constructed evening, a culmination of many happy hours in the classroom I suspect.