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The winner of The Big Issue Christmas Kids Cover Competition is revealed!

Congratulations to Evelyn Weston, artist behind our joyous social-distancing reindeer!

The Big Issue’s Christmas Kids Cover Competition guarantees the most amazing assortment of festive feel-good spirit and now, at the end of a year like no other, that is what we need.

So many children – encouraged by their brilliant parents and inspiring teachers – joined in the fun and we would like to thank each and every one of them for helping make this Christmas that bit brighter.

Celebrated children’s author Nadia Shireen, the guest judge, was also blown away. 

“I really was taken aback by the standard of entries – huge congratulations to everyone who entered. It’s been an absolute nightmare trying to pick my favourites,” she said.

Choosing the winner was tough, but Evelyn’s picture gave such a positive spin on our times. Rudolph is wearing a mask but nothing’s going to stop him dancing!

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Nadia added: “Oh, this cover made me so happy! Rudolph’s definitely got all the right moves. A responsible kitchen disco with a load of reindeers… Absolutely joyful.”

The prodigiously talented Evelyn from North Yorkshire is just five years old, and was delighted when she found out she was the winner.

Her mother Jackie said: “I can’t believe it, what an amazing surprise. She’s such a little artist and spends so much time drawing, it’s amazing for that to be recognised.

“Evelyn burst into tears when I told her she had won because she misunderstood me. Evelyn said, ‘Mummy, I don’t want to leave school and home and go to work! 

“But when I explained it in more detail, she was very happy that her picture was going to help people!”

The family buys The Big Issue from Marcela who sells the magazine on their local high street, but haven’t been able to go out as much recently due to lockdown. They saw our competition online and decided to give it a go.

You can’t help but smile and feel better when you see it

“The Big Issue design took her a few hours,” Jackie explained. “She has a really good eye – we got lots of Christmas pictures out and she used lots of different things for reference, though the reindeer came from her own imagination.

“We are over the moon and very proud that Evelyn has won your fabulous competition!

“Evelyn loves drawing and reading. She’s always loved stories, so is very pleased that Nadia, the author and illustrator of The Cow Who Fell to Earth has helped to choose her picture!” 

Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “Every year we’re knocked out by the quality and volume of entries. It’s been particularly special to see so many this Christmas. Choosing a winner was more difficult than ever. But Evelyn’s reindeer was so happy, despite the two metres and face mask. It was like Morecambe and Wise dancing. You can’t help but smile and feel better when you see it. Thanks to her and to her parents.

“And thanks to all the parents, grandparents, teachers and carers who helped with the pens and glue and glitter and envelopes. This competition is a testament to all. I hope our readers see it and feel better. How could they not!” 

Given how the school year has been disrupted so severely by lockdown and everything that’s happened, it was heartening that so many hardworking teachers got their students involved.

We received hundreds of entries from schools across the country. We’d like to give a special mention to some of them:

The 117 pupils at Erskine Stewart’s Melville Junior School (librarian Gill Peters for overseeing entries). Miss James and her Year 6 class at St Mary’s in Cardiff, Wellfield Middle School in Whitley Bay, Henley Green Primary School in Coventry, Burnfoot Community School, Hawick, The Orion Primary School in London, Ashton First School, Evesham, Hurstpierpoint Prep School in West Sussex and Gullane Primary School.

If we haven’t had space to mention you, watch out for your entry in our video round-up! Rest assured all the pictures we received were amazing and you are a credit to your schools and communities.

Get your copy of this week’s Big Issue with Evelyn’s design on the cover, and hundreds of other designs inside through our online shop and from your local vendor now.

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