Suffolk School Children’s Winning Character Creations

The team at Home-Start in Suffolk have announced the prize-winning entries in their fabulous Character Creations Competition which launched at the end of March.  With over 8000 pages uploaded to their website, there was some tough competition.  But the shortlisting judges managed to whittle the entries down to the top 500 Character Creations and then the main judging panel spent several days on Zoom calls looking through all the shortlisted entries to make their final decisions.

A runner-up entry

“It was a real challenge,” says Ali Watson, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Home-Start in Suffolk who created the competition, “there were some fabulous entries, and it was so difficult for the judges to decide.  We asked them to focus on some key points when judging, for the younger entries – Nursery to Year 3, which focused on the book “At the end of the rainbow” by Suffolk based author, Vibeke Flatman, we asked that they focus on bold bright colours, creativity, individuality and Imagination.  The children really did an amazing job. Some creating Alvin and his family from the story in new scenes, and other really embarrassing the Character Creation theme and creating their own character to fit within the story!”

“With the older children in years 4 to 6, the focus was creating a villain suitable for a spy series such as “Alex Rider” by Suffolk-based author Anthony Horowitz. Again, the judges were given specific criteria to focus on when judging, as these children had to go that extra step and write descriptions and details, explaining the villains’ characteristics, how they look, their weaknesses, their powers, their motivations and so on. The judges were looking for bold designs, creativity, individuality, detailed descriptions and imagination. We were overwhelmed by the level of entries and have been thrilled by the engagement form local Primary schools and homeschoolers too.”

“The level of effort and enthusiasm for the competition has been amazing,” continued Ali.  “The children really did make the judging process a difficult one by being so imaginative. 

Florence’s winning entry

The winners were announced on a specially recorded video hosted by Home-Start in Suffolk CEO Tara Spence and schools were able to show the video in classes across the county.  The runners-up have had their prizes delivered to the schools over the past few weeks in time for the end of term and all the children that were shortlisted in the top 500 for judging received a specially designed certificate to commemorate their involvement in the competition.  

The winners had an extra special treat with a visit for the authors to receive their prize package.   

Vibeke Flatman, author of “At the end of the rainbow”, joined Ali on Monday 5 July at a special Zoom assembly at Waldringfield Primary School to hand over the winning prize to Florence Pethybridge in Year 2. The children were very excited to have a visit from the author and to receive their prizes and certificates.

Vibeke Flatman and Florence Pethybridge

“It was an absolute privilege to be part of this wonderful project to encourage a love of reading and creativity in Primary school-age children,” Vibeke explained. “I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at the amazing bright and bold Character Creations the children have drawn, showing their wonderful and vivid imaginations and extraordinary creativity. Alvin and I are delighted to have been able to support Home-Start in Suffolk and the families they work with across our county.  And to have Miranda Raison read the story for the competition was really just marvelous.”

“We have had so many stunning and thought-provoking entries for this competition, and I know that it was really hard to pick a winner!” Miranda Raison said. “Florence’s picture is so special. The colours warm the heart, and she has really drawn an Alvin so full of character! So many congratulations to her and a huge round of applause for all those who sent in their entries. It was a privilege to be involved!”

Elsie’s Winning Entry

Author Anthony Horowitz OBE joined Ali and Home-Start in Suffolk Chair Rob Thacker, at Broke Hall Primary School on Tuesday 6 July to hand over the winner’s prize to Elsie Newman – Year 5. 

“I am thrilled that this competition has been such a success and it is truly remarkable to see such a huge number of schools and children taking part, creating such imaginative character creations, all whilst supporting my favourite Suffolk charity, Home-Start in Suffolk,” Anthony Horowitz explains. “The level of detail and originality has been inspiring.  The exceptional talent of these young people is clear, making it extremely difficult to choose an overall winner, however, Elise, with her unique and detailed character explained in her lovely eye-catching drawing and beautifully written descriptions is certainly a deserving winner. I am so pleased I was able to be there to present Elsie with her prize. Congratulations to her and everyone who has taken part.”

Author Anthony Horowitz OBE and Elsie Newman

The competition has been a huge success, engaging children all across Suffolk and promoting a love of reading. Many schools hosted fundraising activities in conjunction with the competition, including dress-down days and other fun activities and collectively raised more than £5,000 to support Suffolk families.

To find out more about the competition or to learn more about Home-Start in Suffolk visit  https://www.homestartinsuffolk.org  or call 01473 621104.

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