The winners of Bridport Literary Festival’s first bursary award scheme have been announced.

They are Jessica St Barbe Baker, from Mosterton, and Medwin Stephen, from Bridport. They will each receive £3,000 a year for three years to help with their studies.

Festival director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart said: ‘The BridLit trustees and I are delighted to be able to contribute to the next stage of education of two brilliant young students.’

Chairman Deirdre Coates said trustees had had a very tough job whittling down the candidates to four for interview as the quality was extremely high.

‘Not only did the applicants show enthusiasm and commitment to their chosen subject, but also had all spent much of their time in activities which benefited their communities. I was left both edified and uplifted by this impressive group of young people,’ she said.

Jessica, a student at the Beaminster and Sir John Colfox Joint Sixth Form, will be attending Yeovil University Centre to read a foundation course in Childhood Studies followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree and Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Medwin, a student at Colyton Grammar School, is going to Selwyn College, Cambridge, to read Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.

Earlier this year Bridport Literary Festival decided to establish an annual Bridlit Bursary, awarding £1,000 to two students for each of the three years of their degree course.

Trustees were overwhelmed when, shortly after this decision, they were approached by a very generous local couple who offered to make the bursary £3,000 a year for each of the two students.

Mrs Coates thanked the festival’s Friends, sponsors and attendees for their support over the years.

‘They have played a part in helping these two exceptional young people to further their studies – a most worthwhile contribution to the future of our community. Bridport should indeed be proud of its young people,’ she said.

BridLit already supports Read Easy, a nationwide charity with an active branch in Bridport, which helps adults with reading difficulties.

It also helps the Bank of Dreams and Nightmares, a registered charity which offers free creative writing workshops to West Dorset children aged 7-18.

This year’s Bridport Literary Festival, the main sponsor of which is West Dorset law firm Kitson & Trotman, takes place in venues in and around the town from 5 – 11 November.

The programme is available online at and at various locations throughout West Dorset, including Bridport Tourist Information Centre in the town’s Bucky Doo Square, where tickets for events can be purchased in person or by telephone on 01308 424901.