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Local Children Deck the Great Hall with Christmas Cheer

Christmas came early to Parliament Buildings today when the winner and shortlisted entrants to the Northern Ireland Assembly Christmas Card competition gathered in the Great Hall to receive their awards from the Speaker and Principal Deputy Speaker.

The competition, which was launched in September, called on budding young artists in local primary schools to design this year’s official Northern Ireland Assembly Christmas card. A staggering 3,000 entries were received, but it was nine-year old Emma Isherwood from Edwards Primary School, Castlederg who claimed the top prize with her festive drawing of a robin.

Speaking after the awards ceremony the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA said: “I was absolutely delighted to welcome so many vibrant and creative young people to Parliament Buildings today. We were amazed to receive more than 3,000 entries to the Christmas card competition, the first of its kind organised by the Northern Ireland Assembly. The high levels of skill and creativity produced by our local children has been beyond compare.  

“The Principal Deputy Speaker and I have some tough decisions to make in the Chamber but to pick one winner from thousands of entries, many of which would have graced the front of any Christmas card was extremely difficult.

“In recent months, the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings has been used to showcase a number of works of art to visitors, guests and politicians alike. We are delighted to be able to add to this by displaying Emma’s winning Christmas card design and those of the shortlisted entrants in a special exhibition which will run from the 25 November until Christmas Eve.

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly to congratulate Emma and the other shortlisted entrants and indeed to thank all of those who entered the competition.

“Parliament Buildings belongs to all of us and what better way to get that message across than to display the art created by our local children.”