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Proud students from Lewisham College and Southwark College, and readers from local libraries gathered at the Deptford Lounge on Wednesday 19 June to celebrate.

The Mayor of Lewisham, Cllr Damian Egan, and the Young Mayor of Lewisham, Adam Abdullah, presented them with certificates for taking part in the Reading Agency’s 'Reading Ahead' challenge, and author of the Vinyl Detectives and Doctor Who scriptwriter, Andrew Cartmel, told a spell-bound audience about the work that goes into writing a book.

The Reading Ahead challenge has been in operation for many years and encourages participants to develop their reading skills by reading six books, poems and articles, and then rating and reviewing each one. The challenge takes place every year in colleges, public libraries, and other organisations across the UK, and helps develop more skilled and confident readers. This year, over 600 students signed up to the challenge at Lewisham College and Southwark College with almost 300 completing it weeks before the end date.

Sadhana Sutar-Smith, Learning Centre Manager at Lewisham College said: "We believe that reading skills are core skills for living, working and learning, and so we are keen to offer the reading challenge to our students every year.

"This year we introduced reading clubs, which encouraged students to focus on the challenge outside of their lessons”. It was wonderful to see so many of our students, as well as readers from local libraries, feeling proud of their achievements and happy to receive their certificates. Having their achievements acknowledged at the Deptford Lounge by the Mayor, the Young Mayor, and a famous author was really special”.

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