The bench that has a royal seal of approval

time:2023-06-02 16:33:37source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center 1

"I drew a stag because King Charles loves stags".

A primary school in Belfast has won a competition to design a bench to mark King Charles III's Coronation.

Blythefield Primary School on Sandy Row was chosen as the only winner from Northern Ireland in the Historic Royal Palaces competition.

The children drew crowns, an orb, a sceptre and stags for the bench, which was brought to life by an artist and is on display at Royal Hillsborough.

It is sitting in the Walled Garden summer house, which was designed by King Charles III, when he was Prince of Wales.

It is one of 15 winning benches designed by schools across the UK and will remain in Hillsborough all summer before being given to the school.

"We looked at what our values were and this is our creation at the end - we are just over the moon," said head teacher Catherine Roulston.

"Every child in the school drew something."

She said she was "incredibly proud of the children of Blythefield".

"This is going to be a special memory for them - to know they have been not just part of this but of history.

"It is a great honour to represent Northern Ireland."

She said the school focused on King Charles' love of the environment in their design.

"Therefore, alongside the royal emblems, we included flowers from across the Commonwealth representing pupils within the school from countries across the world.

"We felt this was important to reference our ethos of inclusivity, alongside our commitment to protect the environment, a value shared with King Charles III."

Teacher Serena Craig said the children had been "cloud nine for months now".

"At first we thought it would be a great art project but to win it - we are just over the moon," she said.

"It became a history lesson as well. It's been amazing to see the bench and see the children's faces light up".

While the whole school was involved in the artwork three of the children got a sneak peek of their design, which was brought to life by artist Sinead Farry.

Sodgel Farshy from primary five, Junior Bingham from primary six, and primary seven pupil Colton McGrath visited Hillsborough with their teachers this week.

Colton said that taking part in the project meant he had "learned more about the environment and how to protect it".

Junior, who drew the crown on the bench, said he had loved being part of the coronation projects.

"I saw pictures of it so I knew what colours to use - the flowers represent everyone in our school," he said.

"I can't wait to show my family and friends."

Sodgel said her favourite part was working with the artist from Wild At Art.

Ceri Fox from Historic Royal Palaces said selecting just 15 schools had been tough as there had been an overwhelming response to the competition.

Caroline Marcus from Education in Museums said the "high quality of work submitted from children and young people across the UK made it a very difficult decision for the judges".

"I hope that when the winning schools visit this summer they feel incredibly proud to see their values represented at these famous landmarks," she added.

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