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Barking MP chooses George Carey Primary School’s festive design as Christmas card contest winner

PUBLISHED: 19:00 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:43 18 December 2018

The winners with Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

The winners with Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

Tilly Armstrong

The MP for Barking’s annual Christmas card competition saw its record number of entries this year with 5,633 children from primary schools across the borough taking part.

Alia Hasnat, 10, with her design. Picture: Tilly ArmstrongAlia Hasnat, 10, with her design. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

The contest, an annual fixture for nearly two decades, was held on Friday in Barking Town Hall, which had been decked out with tinsel and wreaths for the occasion.

Finalists from every school in Dame Margaret Hodge’s constituency were invited to attend the ceremony hosted by council leader Darren Rodwell.

“Now in its 18th year it continues to be my favourite event that I hold,” the Labour MP said.

“Over the course of running the competition I have seen how it really brings people in the borough together.”

The winners with Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: Tilly ArmstrongThe winners with Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

The former chair of the public accounts committee went on to thank the “absolutely brilliant” children for their entries.

Seven-year-old Svetoslave Georgieva, from George Carey Primary School, was named the overall winner, impressing judges with her design of a snowman and festive poem.

Runner-up Alia Hasnat, 10, said she was “so excited” when she saw the invitation to the ceremony.

“She was so happy when she got the letter,” added the Grafton Primary pupil’s mother Lisa Molloy, 36.

Alia Hasnat, 10, with her design. Picture: Tilly ArmstrongAlia Hasnat, 10, with her design. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

“She came running down the stairs – she never runs down the stairs.”

Monteagle Primary School, meanwhile, submitted the highest number of entries and was awarded a £300 prize.

Support staff from the Burnham Road, Dagenham school – Jo Donnelly, 46, and Nicky Jose, 50 – explained how the school would spend their winnings: “We’ll let the kids decide what to spend the money on as they were the ones who won it.”

The lucky youngsters received goodie bags filled with science kits, slime and art supplies.

Prizes donated by sponsors including McDonald’s, Selfridges and London City Airport were also handed out to the successful designers.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, the council’s education spokeswoman, praised the long-running contest.

“An event like this allows children of any culture and any ability to have fun designing a Christmas card,” she said.

Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham and Rainham, picked out Diani Ulakanathan’s reindeer design for his constituency Christmas card last month.

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