CHRISTMAS has come early for Morpeth children as they put their artistic skills to the test in a festive competition.
Department store Rutherfords of Morpeth challenged pupils at Chantry and Newminster middle schools to design the shop’s Christmas cards, which will be sold in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Around 480 youngsters, aged nine to 13, took part in the contest, working under the guidance of the schools’ Head of Art Jill Woolley.
Now four lucky winners have seen their designs printed up and put on sale as part of a variety pack.
Newminster pupils Erin Cooper and Halona Mason and Chantry pair Holly Mavin and Emily Caisley, who are all 11, have also received £50 vouchers to buy art products.
Store co-owner Jane Rutherford, who helped to judge the entries, said: “We wanted to produce our own exclusive Christmas cards to go on sale in the store and we thought it would be a great idea to get children from the local community involved and raise money for a charity we have supported for a while.
“We were very impressed with the high standard of their designs — so much so that instead of picking three winners as we originally intended, we decided to have four winners because we couldn’t choose.
“It’s wonderful that the Christmas cards are going to be on sale in the store and they are sure to be very popular with our customers.”
Ms Woolley said: “The Christmas card competition was a fantastic opportunity presented to us by Rutherfords.
“The children were so thrilled at the idea of having their work sold in Rutherfords that it really motivated them and engaged their creativity.
“They also liked the idea of doing something for charity and are very conscious that these cards will be sold to raise money for people less fortunate than themselves.”
All proceeds from the card sales will go to Marie Curie, which provides care to terminally ill patients in their homes or at the charity’s hospices, as well as support for their families.
Community Fund-raiser Lisa Corfield said: “Marie Curie receives a lot of support from the people of Morpeth. We have just set up a Morpeth fund-raising group and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate the local generosity with a Christmas card.”