SSE Renewables announces winning competition entries for its ‘Design a Christmas Decoration from recycled materials’

Santa, Eva Belle Bradshaw and Deirdre Keogh

School goers throughout Arklow Municipal District showed their commitment to an eco-friendlier festive season as they took part in the inaugural SSE Renewables competition to design their very own Christmas decoration from recycled materials.

“We had an overwhelming response to the competition this year and our young people really pulled out the stops to come up with inventive and imaginative creations.  Adjudicating on the competition was both a pleasure and a difficult task for ourselves and the staff in Arklow Municipal District because of the high quality and variety of entries submitted this year.  It was fabulous to see children coming into Arklow Library with their decorations over the past few days and sincerest thanks to the schools who encouraged class groups to get involved, and to the library staff and Festival team.  Whilst it was difficult to select an overall winner to be Santa’s guest of honour at the big switch on, we did find a worthy overall winner in Eva Belle Bradshaw.  Eva’s entry was selected because she displayed exceptional talent for her age in using recycled materials to create a wonderfully joyous Christmas decoration which we hope will adorn her family’s tree for many years to come”. – Deirdre Keogh, Community Engagement Manager SSE Renewables

SSE Renewables was delighted to partner with Arklow Municipal District to bring some festive cheer to the district over the Christmas season by sponsoring low energy street lighting for this year’s festival. 

The big switch-on by Santa and helper Eva Belle Bradshaw who was overall competition winner, took place on Saturday, 26th November in St Mary’s Park, Arklow.  SSE Renewables in association with the Arklow Festival Committee and Arklow Municipal District ran a competition to design a Christmas decoration from recycled materials.  The competition was divided into four age categories: 7 and under; 8-10; 11-12; and 13 years and over, with the overall winning entrant chosen to help Santa at the tree-lighting ceremony.

(Main picture above – Santa, Eva Belle Bradshaw and Deirdre Keogh, SSE Renewables switching on the Arklow Christmas Lights)

Eva Belle Bradshaw from Carysfort National School, Arklow, won the age 7 and under, category for her angel entry.  The angel was made from recycled materials including: an Aldi yoghurt glass and lid; snowflakes made from pearls salvaged from a broken bracelet, string, ribbon and old packaging sprayed gold.  The angel was made from a cork with wings created from an old CD. 

In the age 8-10 category, Hanna Kennedy from Our Lady’s National School, Rathdrum, fashioned an elf’s head made from an old lightbulb with a beard from remnant fur from an old teddy bear.  Its hat was upcycled from a banana shaped sweet box and the string used to hang the decoration was from an old banjo.

Cian Murphy from Gaelscoil an Inbhir Mhóir, Arklow, won the aged 10-12 category with his Christmas tree decoration.This entry was unique not only for the effort taken by Cian and his dad in sourcing the fallen twigs for the project, but also for the detailed planning invested in what Cian described himself as ‘my invention’.  He planned every detail, using lids from recycled cans, old string, glue and cotton buds to create a warm and earthy decoration worthy of any festive tree.

Leah (Hayes) Keogh from St Marys College, Arklow, and Dominka Ilecko, Glenart College, jointly won the age 13 and over category.

Leah designed a Christmas wreath-style decoration made exclusively from a variety of recycled paper materials including recycled cardboard, left-over Christmas festive wrapping, upcycled crepe paper and shredded paper salvaged from her family’s home office.  The mix of textures and tones blended beautifully to create a festive decoration in reds and browns, that would adorn any tree or door.  

Dominka’s decoration was a carefully crafted decoration, unique in its design simplicity and made from salvaged egg cartons. The egg cartons were carefully cut and stacked to create a 3D effect and held together with threading, an old button and sprinkled with glitter for that truly festive effect.

A special mention goes to Carysfort National School, Arklow, for the overwhelming response of entries submitted to a high standard and also to sisters Ava (age 4) and Ellie (age 6) whose Christmas forest displays demonstrated a real family commitment to this year’s competition. 

All competition entries will be displayed in Arklow Library and our category winners will receive a €50 ‘One for All’ voucher as their prize.

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