Young Express & Star Design an Ad winners revealed - IN PICTURES

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More than 1,000 primary school pupils got their creative juices flowing to take part in an Express & Star competition to create an ad for a local business.

And the results were dazzling. The original and inspiring designs featured rainbows, hot air balloons, a heart-shaped earth and even a cameo picture of royal newlyweds Harry and Meghan.

The youngsters from 32 schools across the Black Country and Staffordshire were each paired up with a local firm and tasked with coming up with a fresh and stimulating advert for their school’s chosen company.

Bosses at each business then had the difficult job of deciding on their favourite design from those submitted. In April, those selected were reprinted in the Express & Star and our readers were asked to vote for the one they liked the best to become the overall winner.

On Tuesday, the young designers, accompanied by parents and teachers, were invited to The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton for a special presentation.

Each winner received a framed certificate, a £10 voucher for Waterstones and a £50 voucher for their school.

Ava wins top prize

The overall winner was eight-year-old Ava Bolton, from The Royal School, Wolverhampton, which was awarded the £500 top prize as a result. The Royal had been coupled with the Midland Metro Alliance and the youngster’s drawing of a tram trundling through the city at sunset won over the judges – and the readers.

Ava, from Tipton, who loves English and art, said: “I was surprised and happy at the same time when they read my name out.”


Watching on were her proud parents Craig and Alexandra Bolton.

“On the way to the theatre she was nervous, saying: ‘It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, it’s the taking part that matters’,” said Alexandra, an NHS ward clerk.

“She’s very arty. At the supermarket, she’ll always steer me towards the aisle with the colouring pencils, glue sticks, glitter, the whole works. She loves doing creative things, and she’s a perfectionist – if it’s not right, she’ll rip it up.

“We didn’t even know she’d entered a competition. She sat at the kitchen table for two hours working on the design. I thought she was just doing her homework until we got an email saying she’d won.”


Paul Brown, project director for Wolverhampton City Centre Metro Extension, Midland Metro Alliance: “We are over the moon that Ava’s design was voted as the overall winner.

“We had some fantastic entries from The Royal School but Ava’s design really stood out to us and we’re delighted that it resonated with others too and was chosen as the overall winning design.”

Global design

Eight-year-old Nieve Elkington, from New Invention Juniors, Willenhall, designed a striking ad for the Black Country Chamber or Commerce featuring a globe, a jet and part of the Union Jack flag, amongst other colourful images.

The chamber had challenged pupils to come up with an ad to encourage businesses to trade internationally. And her parents Michael Parker and Victoria Taylor-Wilkes revealed that the winning design was very much an 11th-hour creation.

Victoria said: “It was a last-minute entry. It was ‘Mummy, we’ve got to put this in’. So we sat down and looked at the brief. Nieve did her research about the Chamber of Commerce, and we talked about exporting, kicking around a few ideas. She came up with this design after rejecting quite a few.”

The Grand Theatre were very impressed with the submissions from pupils at Jubilee Academy Mossley in Walsall, remarking they ‘clearly understood all the important factors that make a good advert.’

They chose as their winner a design by 11-year-old Kayleigh Tranter, from Bloxwich, who based her graphics on the theatre’s upcoming panto Sleeping Beauty, winning herself and her family tickets to see the Christmas show.


Tobias Campbell, aged 10, of Tettenhall Wood School, Wolverhampton, was congratulated by the school’s sponsor NCP for his picture of an ambulance, at the same time helping the firm to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

His mother Charmaine Sang said her son, who is autistic, has problems communicating. “I’m really proud of Tobias. He has come a long way and this will give his confidence a big boost.”

A very detailed design by nine-year-old Seema Ehsani, of Bantock Primary School, Wolverhampton, included a heart-shaped earth, a park scene and a row of wheelie bins.

The University of Wolverhampton had asked pupils to come up with a design to encourage people to recycle, describing all the entries as ‘fantastic’. Seema said: “I drew two children in a park with flowers and no litter to show they care about the world and keeping it safe.”

Manveer Heera, of Villiers Primary School, Bilston, designed an imaginative ad for roofing company SPV Group, carefully sketching it in pencil first before going over the outlines in marker pen, a design that took him four days to complete.

The 11-year-old, who wants to design cars when he grows up, said: “I drew half the roof old and half of it new, and I drew a man and woman because the company doesn’t employ only men, they can be any gender, so I was just pointing that out. When my teachers saw it they said ‘This is really amazing’.

Designers of the future

Zion Manhambard, aged nine, of St Martin’s CE Primary in Bilston, loves art, says his dad Lewis. “He often draws me with my beard and he also loves doing manual games, especially Lego. He’s also very conscious of the environment, I’m very proud of him.”

Praising the standard of the school’s entries, sponsor Network Packaging said there were ‘definitely some future designers and copywriters’ amongst the pupils.

Amelie Mae Bartlett, of Landywood Primary School, Great Wyrley, managed to come up with a winning design for Gullivers Kingdom theme park, even though she has never been there.

“I was researching about it because I’ve never been, and I thought it was very beautiful,” said the 10-year-old.

“The message I wanted to put across was that it’s a really fun place to go and spend quality time with your family. The most difficult thing was drawing the castle, that took me most of the time – and deciding what rides to draw.”

She will now be able to draw the park from real life as in addition to winning she also bagged herself free tickets for a day out at the Nottingham venue.

A royal advert

The Harry and Meghan cameo was part of Willenhall-based Rihanna Ralph’s winning design for Poundland. The 10-year-old Short Heath Junior pupil’s design perfectly highlighted the company’s British roots.

Hosting the winner’s presentation event at the Grand Theatre was the MNA deputy advertising director Kim Hazel, while handing out the prizes was the company’s corporate sales manager Darren Griffin.

The main sponsors of the event were Wolverhampton-based Services 4 Schools. The company’s finance director Manjit Randhawa said: “We work with schools a lot so it was nice to give something back.”

Other winners included Grace Harrison, aged nine, of Leamore Primary School, Walsall; George Shirley, aged eight, of Sherbrook Primary School, Cannock; Khadyah Hashmi, aged nine, of Sledmere Primary, Dudley; Emilija Benke, aged eight, of Bylls Acre Primary, Wolverhampton; Gabby Malik, aged nine, of Perry Hall Primary; Maelys Descombes, 11, of Yew Tree Primary, Solihull; Isabella Parkes, aged nine, of St Austin’s Primary, Stafford; Jack Thompson, aged nine, of The Birchfield School, Albrighton; Sophie-Rose Harper, 11, of Rakegate Primary, Wolverhampton; and Phoebe Case, aged nine, of Castlecroft Primary, Wolverhampton.

Also under the spotlight were Filip Gallewicz, 10, of St John Bosco Catholic Primary, West Bromwich; Isla Adey, aged seven, of St Paul’s CE First School, Coven; Kristi Howell, 11, of Bilbrook CE Middle School, Codsall; Gurwinder Singh, 11, of Bilston CE Primary, Wolverhampton; Reyan Miah, aged seven, of St Stephen’s Primary, Wolverhampton; Aimee Sidebotham, 10, of Woodlands Academy of Learning, Willenhall; Samuel Mistry, aged nine, of Blue Coat CE(A) Junior School, Walsall; Aliyyah Adeoti, aged seven, of Butts Primary, Walsall; Hermione Mason, aged six, of Milking Bank Primary, Dudley; Zaara Pal, aged nine, of Elston Hall Primary, Wolverhampton; Zsofia Dibusz, aged nine, of Lickhill Primary, Stourport-on-Severn; Mikah Rathbone, aged nine, of St Nicholas CE First School, Codsall; and Kaye-Lee Reader, 11, of Moorcroft Wood Primary, Bilston.


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