Wishaw schoolgirl Leah McDonald
An artistic Wishaw schoolgirl has won a prestigious competition to commemorate a very special anniversary.
Next year is Edinburgh Zoo’s centenary and, to celebrate the 100-year milestone, a unique contest took place for children to put their own stamp on Scotland’s capital’s visitor attraction.
In July 1913 the zoo opened its doors for the very first time and to mark the moment, a design competition was launched to give kids across Scotland the chance to create their very own stamp.
Leah McDonald (15) of Netherton certainly licked the competition when her fantastic drawing of a giant panda was chosen as one of four winners from a first class field of over a staggering 4000 entries.
The special delivery from the fourth year pupil from Our Lady’s High scooped the top prize in the 15 to 17-year-old category.
Now Leah’s winning design (pictured above) will be printed as part of a set of four stamps that will be sold in the zoo shop.
The talented teenager said: “I was delighted when I found out I had won, especially from such a large field. It’s a real honour.
“I decided to do a drawing of a panda because there was a lot of publicity surrounding Tian Tian and Yang Guang coming to Edinburgh last year.
“With hindsight lots of other entrants probably had the same idea, but I was really pleased with how my drawing turned out.”
Leah was encouraged to enter the competition by her art teacher Lorena Steinert, who commented: “Everyone at the school is so proud of Leah for drawing such a great design and winning.
“Overall we had five highly commended entries as well as Leah’s design so well done to everyone who took part.”
The project was supported by the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies (ASPS) and the Scottish Philatelic Trade Association (SPTA).
Children were asked to get creative and design a stamp that, if chosen as a winning design, would go on sale at the zoo gift shop.
Budding stamp enthusiasts could choose to incorporate their favourite animals into the design or come up with something entirely new that represented 100 years of Edinburgh Zoo.
Special guest judges, Alan Watson and Frank Soutar from the ASPS, viewed all of the submissions and chose the four winning designs after much deliberation.
All of these winning designs have been made into a miniature stamp label sheet that is now on sale at the Edinburgh Zoo gift shop for £1 – with all profits going towards the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) ongoing conservation projects, in the UK and further afield.
Sandie Robb, senior education officer for RZSS and also the development officer for ASPS, said: “We were overwhelmed with the response to the competition and the high standard of entries from the different age groups.
“It has not only raised awareness of Edinburgh Zoo’s centenary, but it was also good to read the positive feedback from teachers about how the activity fitted well with the curriculum; something which I will certainly take forward to encourage stamp collecting amongst children.”