Christmas cracker may put Emily’s art on track this festive season

Ella and Ruby Prior with the Traindeer, the 2014 winners.
Ella and Ruby Prior with the Traindeer, the 2014 winners.

A nine-year-old schoolgirl from Bedford has been shortlisted in a competition which could see her festive design brighten up trains this Christmas.

Emily Howell is up against nine other designs, with the winning drawing transform a Virgin Train during December.

Emily Howell

Emily Howell

The competition launched in September in partnership with the Book Trust, and invited primary school children to send in their ideas for a Christmas train makeover.

Emily’s entry, which was inspired by a Christmas cracker, is amongst those which impressed Jill Murphy, the judging panel chair.

Jill said: “I was delighted with the number of entries received and we carefully pored over each one. Choosing a shortlist wasn’t easy, but in the end we all agreed that these designs showed great flair and really captured the spirit of Christmas.”

Emily said: “I am so excited to be shortlisted, I love art and drawing so this competition seemed like the perfect thing for me to enter. As soon as I heard about it, I started thinking about what I could design but in the end decided on a cracker because it’s a similar shape to a train. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed as I’d be so proud to see my design chosen.”

Should Emily win, her design will be unveiled on Virgin Trains on December 1 and seen across the network throughout that month.

Patrick McCall, chairman of Virgin Trains, said: “We’ve been thrilled to see the number of creative entries flooding in and we’ll have a tough time narrowing it down to just one winner.”

Diana Gerald, Book Trust chief executive, said: “It was fantastic to see so many of the entries inspired by classic Christmas stories, as quite often in children’s books it’s the illustrations that imprint in our memories.”