A CRACOE schoolboy has put pen to paper to be crowned North East regional winner of a national letter writing competition.

James Otulakowski, of Cracoe and Rylstone Primary School, was one of 40,000 pupils across the country to enter the Royal Mail's Young Letter Writers' competition.

Youngsters were asked to write a First Class letter to anyone, anywhere and about anything.

James wrote to the author of the Horrible History stories, James Deary.

His letter read: "You won't believe what I've found in our house. It's a skeleton and it could change history you know. Hurry over quick, Mr Deary.

"I want you to write this up and turn it into another great Horrible History story.

"We have had to lock the gates because of all the newspaper people and they have nearly knocked it down."

More than 24,000 schools around the UK were mailed entry forms for the competition.

Three national awards will be made in the two age categories - six to eight and nine to 11 - plus three special achievement awards for children who had overcome exceptional experiences or difficulties to take part in the competition.

From these the judges will choose the overall Young Letter Writer of the Year, who will be announced in early March.

As a regional winner in the six to eight category, James has already won £100 worth of book tokens and £500 for the school.