benchmarkLoRes-146Earlier this year, Northumberland Writer, Rachel Cochrane, released her online radio play Benchmark now available online for everyone to listen. Inspired by the ‘In Loving Memory’ plaques found on benches, it is the story of a young single mum and the ghost of a prim spinster who find that they have more in common than they realise.  The radio play was recorded at Fuse Media Centre in Prudhoe with actors local to The Tyne Valley.

Rachel is now working with a North East Hospice to run a competition based upon the theme of Benchmark. This competition, however, is to celebrate the living and will raise funds for Willow Burn Hospice, Derwentside, which seeks to improve the experience for all of those living with life limiting illness, when it really counts.

We are asking people to think about their lives as they are now and consider if they had a bench with a plaque on it:

What would it say on the plaque?
Where would it be?
Why have you chosen that particular place?

The competition is open to all UK adults aged 18 years and over; it is short and easy to enter and can be expressed as either prose or poetry. We are looking for heartfelt, genuine pieces, rather than for perfect grammar. In the competition guidelines ( ) , there are even some hints and tips and a written example to get people started.

Competition Administrator, Rachel Cochrane said ‘We would love to receive entries from those who are new to writing or have never written creatively before and the competition has been designed with this in mind’.

We have some fantastic judges including renowned author, Wendy Robertson from Bishop Auckland, Dr Philip Le Dune, General Practitioner with an interest in Terminal Care and Sue Spencer, Writer and Head of Clinical Services at Willow Burn Hospice.

Both National and local North East companies and individuals have been amazingly generous and we are offering the First Prize of a solid Iroko Dalton 3 seater (1500cm) hardwood bench with personalised engraved plaque and delivery within the UK.  Sponsors for this prize are Faithful & Gould, Victory Signs and Solid Oak Hardwood Furniture.

Second prize is a Kindle donated by David Ridley with third prize is a £30 book token donated by Rachel Cochrane. Plus all winning entries will also be showcased in written form on

The Benchmark writing competition is now open and the closing date to receive entries is 19th January 2015. The entry fee is £5 with 40% of that going towards Willow Burn Hospice. Details can be found by visiting