First past the post for Washington and Sunderland MP

MP Sharon Hodgson with, from left standing, Leon Walton-English (five-eight winner); Phyliss Atheesa (eight-11 and overall winner); Ethan Nichols (eight-11 runner-up) and Flynn Rutter (five-eight runner-up); seated are Rosie Taylor (three-five runner-up) and Holly Stacey (three-five winner).
MP Sharon Hodgson with, from left standing, Leon Walton-English (five-eight winner); Phyliss Atheesa (eight-11 and overall winner); Ethan Nichols (eight-11 runner-up) and Flynn Rutter (five-eight runner-up); seated are Rosie Taylor (three-five runner-up) and Holly Stacey (three-five winner).
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SCHOOLGIRL Phyliss Atheesa will see her artwork displayed in the corridors of power and on desks and mantelpieces up and down the land after winning an MP’s Christmas card competition.

The Year 6 pupil from Usworth Grange Primary School had her design chosen by Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgsonfrom dozens of entries.

MP Sharon Hodgson with the Christmas Cards design winner Phyllis Atheesa at the presentation held at Washington Arts Centre.

MP Sharon Hodgson with the Christmas Cards design winner Phyllis Atheesa at the presentation held at Washington Arts Centre.

The MP hosts a competition each year for schoolchildren in her constituency, offering them the chance to have their design sent on her official Christmas cards.

Ten-year-old Phyliss’ picture of a snowman on a multi-coloured dancefloor won her first prize and will be printed on the front of the MP’s Christmas cards, which are sent to community groups, organisations and community leaders – as well as gracing the walls of top politicians and public figures.

Mrs Hodgson said: “Every year the judges and I are surprised and delighted by the entries I receive. There is some real talent and creativity in local children, and even in November their excitement about Christmas really shines through in their entries.

“Any one of them would have looked great on the front of my cards, but we had to choose one, and Phyliss’ disco-dancing snowman stood out as being colourful and fun.

“The designs are now with the printers and I can’t wait to get sending them out.”

Phyliss’s design was picked out by Mrs Hodgson and a panel of judges, including councillors Linda Williams and Doris MacKnight, art consultant Susan Coles and Maxine Harmison from Sainsbury’s.

An awards ceremony to announce the winners took place at Washington Arts Centre.

The two other age-category winners were Leon Walton-English, of Willowfields Primary, in the five-eight category, and Holly Stacey, of Fatfield Primary, in the three-five category.

They will have their designs on the inside of the card and three runners-up – Rosie Taylor, three, Flynn Rutter, seven, and Ethan Nichols, 10 – will be on the back.

The designs will be displayed in an exhibition at Washington Arts Centre until January 6.

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