Young writers take top places in 2017 Phil awards

Scotland and Norway featured as perfect driving destinations in the winning entries for the Midland Group of Motoring Writers' 2017 award in memory of a member who mixed cars and countries for a living.

Outright winner this year is 14-year-old Dan Walls, from Bletsoe in Bedfordshire (pictured left with Ian Donaldson, MGMW chairman), who imagined driving a powerful Bentley Bentayga into the Highlands of Scotland. Winner Dan attends Bedford Modern School and was prompted to enter the competition by his English teacher Dr Paul Barnes.

Dan's main prize is a £1,000 travel voucher, sponsored by Audi, which will also provide a car for his parents to enjoy for a week. Also in Dan's winning package are a guided tour of the Aston Martin plant at Gaydon in the Midlands and a passenger ride in one of the factory cars with a works driver.

A visit for Dan and family to Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands is also included in the winner's prizes and he'll be able to take a Mercedes around the track or on an off-road course too - and treat the family to a splendid lunch.

The Phils award is named for the late Phil Llewellin, a respected member of the Midland Group whose stories about driving cars in interesting places all over the world appeared in countless magazines and newspapers. The award sets out to encourage creativity in young people interested in telling a story of motoring, cars and travel.

There are two possible awards: the Phil (open to all entrants aged up-to 18) and the Junior Phil (for entrants aged up-to 16). This year, young Dan's entry so impressed the judges that they made him the outright winner despite being entered into the younger category.

For the first time in the award's history, a special runners-up prize of a £100 travel voucher was given to another 14-year-old; Daniel Lee from Whittington, near Oswestry (pictured left).

His 500 words story about taking an Aston Martin Vulcan on an imaginary race against the Northern Lights in Norway so impressed the judges they made this one-off special award.