The competition will give primary schoolchildren a chance to create an official Christmas stamp, which will appear on millions of items of mail during the 2017 holiday season. Only three times in the postal service’s 500-year history—in 1966, 1981 and 2013—has an official Christmas stamp been designed by schoolchildren.
The theme of the competition is, “What does the Christmas season mean to you?”
As with all Special Stamps issued by Royal Mail, both winning designs will require the approval of Queen Elizabeth II.
Two winning designs from children will be selected by a panel of judges, and their designs will appear on the first- and second-class Christmas stamps from this year’s range.
“Royal Mail is delighted to give two U.K. schoolchildren the chance to design an official Royal Mail Christmas stamp and see their winning designs adorn millions of items of mail over the festive season,” said Stephen Agar, managing director of Consumer and Network Access. “Our winners will join a list of some of the most talented designers in the world to have designed a Royal Mail Christmas stamp.”
The 2013 Christmas Stamp Design Competition received more than 240,000 entries with just more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all primary schools in the U.K. participating.
The two winners will follow in the footsteps of highly acclaimed children’s designers and illustrators who have designed Christmas stamps in the past, such as, Quentin Blake (1993), Nick Park (2010) and Axel Scheffler (2012).
HOW IT WORKS
Schools, and parents of home-schooled children, can sign-up to the competition online or by returning the application form in a pack sent to them by iChild, the online educational resource centre, in association with Royal Mail. The competition is open to children aged four to 11 in the U.K., excluding residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The winners of the competition will be announced in the summer and the stamps will be available to buy on Nov. 7.
Royal Mail will select 120 regional runners up across the U.K. They, and their schools, will each receive prizes of £100 for the school and £100 gift vouchers for the child. From those 120 runners up, a shortlist of 24 finalists will be chosen. They and their schools will receive prizes of £500 for the school and £500 of gift vouchers for the child.
From the finalists, two winners will be chosen, one for the first-class Christmas stamp and once for the second-class stamp. They will also receive prizes of £1,000 for the school and £1,000 in vouchers for the child.
2013 CHRISTMAS COMPETITION
Judges who chose the winning designs in the 2013 competition included Prince Charles and Moya Greene. The “Santa” design by Molly Robson, 7, of Horsham, West Sussex, was featured on the first-class Christmas stamp.
“Singing Angels,” by Rosie Hargreaves, 10, of Ivybridge, Devon, was featured on the second-class Christmas stamp. A total of 5,354 schools signed up to the competition. There were a total of 240,033 submissions—or 4.3 per cent of primary-school aged children in the U.K.—submitted by schools.