7th Annual Christmas prize-giving event at Stanborough Park Church
Stanborough Park Church's Toy Service has been an annual event for nearly 60 years, but a lesser known Christmas outreach event is also slowly establishing itself. This is in the form of a competition for local primary school children to submit a picture on a Christmas theme. It has proved to be a good way of bringing the community together at Christmas time and many people of different ethnicities, faiths and none attend the prize-giving ceremony held in The Stanborough Centre as the pictures mostly depict the secular side of Christmas these days.
Sponsored by the The Co-op Food Stores (Watford Area) supermarket chain as part of its local initiatives the event is held under the 'One Vision Project' umbrella in which a large number of local charities and advice groups meet together monthly along with the Mayor of Watford to share expertise, resources and ideas for future projects. The event is co-sponsored by Stanborough Park Church as it began as an outreach project by the church's Community Chaplaincy Dept under the leadership of Enoch Kanageraj a Co-op employee who still organises the event.
This year there were over 350 entries from five primary schools in the Watford and Hemel Hempstead area, including Stanborough Primary School. Those who had won an award were invited to attend the prize-giving ceremony on 15th December. Speaking on behalf of the judges Liz Burns who is a local councillor and member of 'One Vision' said that they found it extremely hard to judge the entries as the standard was so high this year and so they decided to increase the number of awards available which meant that this year the hall in The Stanborough Centre was fuller than usual.
Associate Pastor Geert Tap gave a meditation on the Christmas theme dressed as a sheep. He explained that he had always wanted to be a sheep - or a shepherd - in his school nativity play in his native Netherlands but the best he could manage was a palm tree so he was in costume as sheep that day as the nearest he could get to achieving his childhood ambition!
The prizes were presented by the Chair of Watford Borough Council, Cllr Asif Khan. There were two categories: 4-7 years and 8-11 years each with 1st prize of £50, 2nd prize of £35 and 3rd prize of £25. In addition, there were ten Highly Commended prizes of £10 as well as a number of Commended prizes of chocolates (it is Christmas after all!).
The winning school for submitting the highest number of winning entries was The Grove Academy in Garston which won a prize of £100 towards art materials for the school. Stanborough Primary School also received a cash prize.
The centre has already been booked for next year's competition.