Success for student after reef stamp design wins national competition

PUBLISHED: 17:06 12 June 2018

The stamp design submitted by Laura Gilbert. PHOTO: Hethersett Old Hall School

The stamp design submitted by Laura Gilbert. PHOTO: Hethersett Old Hall School

Hethersett Old Hall School

A high school pupil has won a national competition to design a postage stamp highlighting the importance of oceans and reefs.

Laura Gilbert with her letter from the British Indian Ocean Territory deputy commissioner. PHOTO: Hethersett Old Hall School Laura Gilbert with her letter from the British Indian Ocean Territory deputy commissioner. PHOTO: Hethersett Old Hall School

Laura Gilbert, a year seven pupil at Hethersett Old Hall School, will see her winning design featured in the Year of the Reef issue of stamps for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

A panel of judges selected Laura’s design, which depicts a turtle swimming through a reef.

Laura said: “I like art and drawing so it was good when our science teacher Mrs Mann suggested that we get involved in this competition.

“We had just been discussing about how the oceans are being polluted with plastic and the coral reefs are dying.

“My picture for the stamp shows a reef how it should be, healthy and alive. We need to make sure we save the coral reefs, otherwise we lose a big part of our world.”

Bryony Mathew, deputy commissioner of the BIOT, sent Laura a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which said: “We had a huge number of entries and it was very hard to chose the winners but we loved your design and think it will look fabulous as a stamp for the territory.”

Laura will receive a framed copy of the first issue, First Day Cover, together with two unframed covers and a certificate from the commissioner of the BIOT.

Hethersett Old Hall School had another success in the competition, with Maisie Alger in year 12 receiving a high commendation in the older age group entries.

The BIOT is a large and isolated atoll complex half way between Tanzania and Indonesia, with more than 50 small islands and many coral reefs.

In 2010, the UK government created one of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) on the planet inside the BIOT.

All commercial fishing was stopped, making a 640,000 square-kilometre of the Indian Ocean a safe refuge for 310 species of coral, 821 species of fish and 355 species of molluscs.

Victoria Mann, head of science at the school, said: “I love the idea of science and art coming together in such a topical and interesting competition.

“It’s a great way to draw attention to the territory’s conservation work and their Year of the Reef initiative and I am thrilled that Laura’s design has been chosen – and that Maisie’s has been commended too.”

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