22-year-old writing about disability wins Sun Column Idol contest

Twenty-two year-old Jessica Long has been named as winner of The Sun’s Column Idol 2012.

Column Idol, which is now in its third year, provides six young people aged 18-25 the chance to be mentored by top journalists through Media Trust’s youth mentoring scheme.

The six finalists then presented their column ideas to a judging panel including The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan, singer Labrinth and Sun columnist Lorraine Kelly.

Click here to read Long’s winning column, headlined: 'Why am I disabled? Fell off an elephant'.

Over the last three months Jessica was mentored by Sam Carlisle, executive features editor at The Sun, who worked closely with her as she developed her column idea.

Long said:

Winning Column Idol is a dream come true for me and it’s amazing to have this opportunity to get my voice heard in a national newspaper. Sam was a fantastic mentor and having the opportunity to learn from her experience was invaluable.

I didn’t want to complain, but to tell The Sun readers what it’s like when people come up to me and ask me why I’m in a wheelchair or on crutches and the various false responses that I give – my favourite being that I fell off an elephant! I hope that this comes across in my column and that readers will find it funny and an insight into my world.

Mohan said:

The standard of entries was extremely high and all the finalists were really inspirational, so it was a difficult choice, but in the end the judges were unanimous in their praise for Jessica. Her final column is extremely well written, entertaining and thought provoking and she should be really proud of what she has achieved.

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