It’s been a strange and unsettling year for all of us, but for school-age children the coronavirus pandemic has caused them to miss months of school and be separated from their friends and teachers for lengthy periods. Even the return to school has been difficult, with youngsters having to adapt – as they do so well – to mixing only with small groups of their peers at a time, and learning the importance of social distancing, class bubbles and hand-washing.
As the Prime Minister said this weekend, life will continue to be bumpy through to Christmas, and it may even be bumpy beyond. Everyone is working hard to contain and thwart COVID-19.
And so, to bring a tiny bit of normality back to a bumpy and bizarre situation, this week I am launching my annual Christmas Card Competition for all children living, or attending primary school and nursery, in the great constituency of Brentwood and Ongar. The rules are simple: entries must be A4, and coloured in pencil, crayon, pen or paint (no glitter, nothing stuck on) and you need to have been born on or after 1 September 2009. This is the third year I’ve run the competition - each year hundreds of children have taken the time to draw some amazing Christmas-themed pictures, often featuring the Houses of Parliament and the Commons Chamber. This year I think the cheerier the better to celebrate being back with friends after time apart.
The designs should be sent to me, Alex Burghart, at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA with your name, address, date of birth, and school clearly marked on the back of each picture. Please also provide an email address for your school or parent/carer. All entries must arrive by Thursday 5 November 2020.
The winning design will be printed and sent out across Brentwood and Ongar as my Christmas card this year, with the winner’s name and school printed inside. It will also be shared on my website and Facebook page so everyone can share the joy.
Last year, Sophie from the Ursuline Preparatory School won the competition with a sensitive coloured pencil sketch of the Houses of Parliament with children building a snowman in the foreground. I am very much looking forward to seeing what our local pupils have in store for us for Christmas 2020.