Winning portraits of mum

Mon 29th February 2016

Two St Austell mums had a special treat to mark Mother’s Day when portraits created of them by their children won a competition organised by White River Place Shopping Centre. 

The centre, based in the heart of St Austell, encouraged children at nearby schools to get creative and paint or draw colourful portraits of their mum to mark Mother’s Day on Sunday March 6th. 

White River Place was overwhelmed by the response with more than 440 entries received from local primary schools including Mount Charles, Pondhu, Sandy Hill and Whitemoor.  

After the judging panel made up of Annette Miller, St Austell BID Manager, Karl Owen from Cornwall College’s art department and Charlie Hurst from White River Place sorted through the entries, one winner was chosen for both the 5-7 and 8-11 age groups. 

Sofia Burt aged seven won the 5-7 age group with her picture of mum Claire, while Riley Bowers, 10, depicted his mum Michaela to win the older age group.  Both children received a £25 gift voucher as well as a gift bag of goodies for their mums, and their original art work was framed as a special present. 

Sofia said: “I tried to make the the mouth very smiley in my picture, because my mum smiles a lot.” Proud mum Claire Burt added: “I absolutely love the portrait, Sofia is very talented and it was a lovely surprise to hear that she had won for us both.” 

Riley said he was “really happy” to win, and that he’d tried to include lots of details of his mum in his portrait, such as a pink scarf she often wears. Riley’s mum Michaela Bowers said the win was especially welcome after she’d suffered from ill health lately: “Riley’s portrait is absolutely perfect, I really love it and it shows the love between him and me. I was so proud of him when he won and touched to receive a special prize, which couldn’t have come at a better time.” 

Both Riley and Sofia are pupils at Mount Charles Primary School in St Austell, which also won the prize for the best overall quality of entries to the competition, and the school was given £100 which could be used to buy art materials. 

Rachel Nile, Year 5 teacher at Mount Charles, said: “We’re delighted to have won the money, and grateful to White River Place. All the pupils at Mount Charles were really enthusiastic about taking part in the competition and we have a creative curriculum here at the school with some very talented artists so it was a good opportunity for them to show off their skills.” 

Richard Hurst, Manager of White River Place, said: “Clearly we have some very gifted children in St Austell judging by the overwhelming number of entries we received in our Portrait Competition, and the very high standard of work created. It was a difficult job to judge the winners but I was delighted to meet Sofia and Riley to present them with their prizes for two wonderful portraits, and to meet the mums who inspired them.” 

The judges who had the tough job of picking two winners both praised the standard of work this year. Karl Owen, Team Lead for Art and Design and Cornwall College, said: “It was really difficult to pick just two winners when so many of the entries were outstanding; we were very impressed. The portraits demonstrated the lovely ways in which the children see their mothers, and the standard of the work was unexpectedly high with so many nice details in the portraits which made us smile to see.” 

Annette Miller, St Austell BID Manager, added: “It was hard work judging this competition but it was also a very pleasant job looking at the beautiful pictures the children created of their mums, and all the effort they put in. I was truly amazed by the standard of the work; they were all worthy winners in their own right.” 

All of the competition entries can still be viewed at the White River Place Facebook page and visitors are invited to vote for their favourite before 9am on Monday 7th March, when the six portraits with the most combined likes and comments will be chosen to have their portrait framed, and one will win a £25 gift voucher. 

 Every one of the 442 portraits are also going on display at White River Place Shopping Centre for shoppers to see, and the pop-up portrait gallery will be at South Square from this weekend onwards. 

 For more information about White River Place follow the centre on Facebook at or on Twitter @Whiteriverplace 

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