One of the winning paintings 'Mannings Pit' by Graciella Sillence-Dreyer from Barnstaple's Pilton Bl

CPRE Devon inundated with competition entries from children in lockdown who showed they care about the countryside

sharon goble's picture
Authored by sharon goble
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 19:02

Devon’s schoolchildren have shown how much they care about the countryside by entering CPRE Devon’s 2020 Art and Writing competitions in their droves. This year the Devon branch of the countryside charity CPRE received more entries than ever before and from all corners of the county. 

In both competitions, held throughout the months of lockdown, primary schoolchildren demonstrated how much they care about the natural world on their doorstep. Entering their paintings and prose gave them an outlet for their creative talents while they were stuck at home.

Pupils from the north, south and east of the county triumphed in the individual categories of the two competitions. St Mary's Catholic Primary School in Buckfastleigh won Best Overall School for the second year running for the quality of its written entries. St Peter’s Prep School at Lympstone near Exmouth won Best Overall School in the ‘My Outdoors’ art competition.

Penny Mills, Director of CPRE Devon, said: “What an amazing year it’s been for our annual children’s competitions. The entries came pouring in from across the county - from Barnstaple to Buckfastleigh, Woolacombe to Whimple, Exmouth to Plymouth and any number of places in between!”

“We have been absolutely thrilled at both the quality and quantity of this year’s entries. It’s no surprise, perhaps, that with our youngsters ‘locked down’ for weeks on end in their homes, without the daily routine of school, they have found creative ways to expend their energy and their love for the outdoor spaces they’ve had access to. For those in urban environments, this may have been no more than a courtyard or garden or green space at the end of their road. Those who live close to the coast or countryside have enjoyed more freedom to roam. Some of our entrants used their memory to revisit favourite beauty spots and scenic locations. We have enjoyed seeing and reading about all of these places. It’s been a real pleasure discovering what our young competition entrants love about their outdoors.”

Judging was incredibly difficult this year because of the large number of entries. The individual winners in the Art Competition are 6-year-old Betsy Salt (KS1) from St Peter’s Prep School, Lympstone, Exmouth for her seaside painting.  In KS2 there are two winners: 10-year-old Thomasin Manley-Frost from St Peter’s Prep School Lympstone, Exmouth for her painting of Bowerman’s Nose, Dartmoor; and 11-year-old Graciella Sillence-Dreyer from Pilton Bluecoat Academy, Barnstaple for her watercolour painting of Mannings Pit. Graciella’s painting is to be donated to a local charity that has been set up to raise funds to save/buy the green space. 

Highly Commended prizes go to children from Clyst Heath Primary School, Exeter; Compton C of E Primary School, Plymouth; Bampton C of E Primary School; Wembury Primary School; Woolacombe School; St Mary’s Catholic Primary School Buckfastleigh; St Peter’s Prep School, Lympstone, Exmouth; Woodbury Salterton Primary School; Whimple Primary School; St John's School, Sidmouth; Tedburn St Mary Primary School; Whitchurch Community Primary School and Dunsford Community Academy. 

In the writing competition, children were asked to briefly say why they think it’s important to protect Devon’s countryside. In KS1,  Ayrton Teague (Age 5) from St Mary’s in Buckfastleigh wrote: “Devon is a rural area. We are country people. It is important to be proud of our countryside. A clean and tidy countryside is beautiful to see.” In KS2, the individual winner is Priya-Louise Fairey (Age 9), also from St Mary’s, who wrote: “I like to cycle through the lanes and I love to see the bluebells in the hedges. Sometimes I see litter which makes me sad.” Highly Commended prizes go to children from Dunsford Community Academy; Whimple Primary School; Wembury Primary School; Preston Primary School Torquay and Bridestowe Primary School.

CPRE Devon’s Penny Mills adds, “Thank you to all the children who have taken part in this year’s competitions and produced some wonderful work. Thanks also to the parents and school teachers who have taken the time and trouble to get their entries to us by post and email.”

You can see some of the winning paintings by watching CPRE Devon's 'My Outdoors' Art Competition 2020 video on YouTube