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Prizes presented in Remembrance Art Competition 30 January 2008

Minister for Education Anne Craine MHK today presented the prizes to the young winners of the Department of Education and Royal British Legion Remembrance Art Competition.

Building on the already close links between the Royal British Legion and education, the organisation set young people the challenge of creating a work of art in any medium under the heading 'Peace Not War'.

Mrs Craine and well-known local artist Miss Val Teare, of Douglas, had the unenviable task of selecting just nine winners from the many hundreds of entries from primary and secondary schools and youth groups. The entries filled both the conference rooms at the Department's headquarters at St George's Court in Douglas and spilled out into the corridors. They included tapestries, collages, computer-generated images, canvases, drawings and paintings.

Today the winners gathered at St George's Court to collect prizes of vouchers totalling £300, kindly sponsored by the Royal British Legion.

Mrs Craine praised all the entrants, saying: 'They were all fantastic.' She said her task had been 'extremely difficult'. But she told winners: 'These pieces of art really stood out from the rest, so congratulations.'

Thanking the Royal British Legion for collaborating with the Department over the competition, she said: 'It is important that we get young people to express their views on wars past and wars that continue today. It gives them food for thought. It is a very serious topic.'

Ian Cannell, President of the Isle of Man County of the Royal British Legion and a past National Chairman of the organisation, led a delegation of three from the organisation. It included County Chairman Ellis Killey and County Vice-Chairman John Cleverley.

Dispelling the myth that the Royal British Legion only assisted veterans of long-finished conflicts, Mr Cannell said those not much older than some of the winners are at present fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said the organisation receives 300,000 requests for assistance each year and spends £80 million annually helping people.

He said the RBL had been accused in the past of glorifying war but insisted: 'No one works harder for peace than he who has had to go to war.'

Mr Cannell said it was important that education created an awareness of events that shaped the present. 'It is right that people like you, as part of history and citizenship education, should be made aware of this aspect of our lives,' he told the winners.

They were: Primary category - 1st Ross O'Sullivan of Dhoon School (£50), 2nd Anagh Coar School reception class (£30), 3rd Chloe Cubberley of Sulby School (£20); Key stage 3 category - 1st Sophie Hall of King William's College (£50), 2nd Laura Collister of Ramsey Grammar School (£30), 3rd Holly Kneale of Ramsey Grammar School (£20); Key stage 4 and above - 1st Laura Brindley of King William's College (£50), 2nd Stefany Gordigenco of King William's College (£30), 3rd Alex Beadle of King William's College (£20).

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