The competition invites school children from primary schools across the county to design a poster sending Christmas messages to the armed forces serving away from home over the holiday period.

This year two creative pupils have been declared as joint winners of the sixth Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Christmas Art competition, this year themed on World War One.

One of the winning artists was Annabelle Walsh from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Royston, who impressed the judges with her thoughtful piece of art reflecting the famous WW1 Christmas truce football match.

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Annabelle, 11, was awarded her prize at a school assembly and was told that the judges thought it was so good they are looking to use the design for their official Christmas card for 2019.

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Also declared a winner was Alfie Douglas, Year 4, from Garden Fields JMI School in St Albans for his poignant picture of a festive snowman covered in poppies, in remembrance of the fallen of World War One.

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Alfie was presented with his prize at a school assembly, the second competition winner from Garden Fields who celebrated another winning entry in 2016.

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The two worthy winners, along with a friend and parent, will enjoy a day of activities courtesy of colleagues from Northwood HQ, the UK’s principal military headquarters site based in Hertfordshire.

Representatives from the RAF, Army and the Navy all attended prize-giving assemblies at both schools to talk about their work and how much they enjoyed seeing all the artwork submitted by the children.

Also attending the prize-giving assemblies were members of the 254 Medical Regiment Royal Army Medical Corps, who have a base in Hertfordshire. They brought along a military field ambulance for the children to see.

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Both schools got the opportunity to have a good look around the ambulance and hear about the work of this regiment including the humanitarian roles played by the UK military.

Chairman of the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board, Cllr Terry Douris, said: “We are delighted that so many schools took part in this annual competition. It gives children from across Hertfordshire the chance to show their appreciation of the UK armed forces and we know artwork from local children offers a great morale booster for serving personnel who are separated from their families at Christmas time.

“St. Mary’s and Garden Fields JMI schools gave us such a warm welcome and both schools’ approach to the community and the Armed Forces is wonderful.

“We are delighted that the winners of this competition - Annabelle Walsh and Alfie Douglas - will be treated to a great day of activities at the Northwood Headquarters and lunch in the Officers’ Mess.”

Twenty-two schools entered the art competition with over 800 entries. The competition is a community engagement project working to bring together the civilian and military communities and recognising and remembering the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces Community.

The competition continues to prove very popular with both the Armed Forces and Hertfordshire schools. The entries are judged by serving personnel, bringing cheer to those separated from families during Christmas time.

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