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The 2021 Cotswold Challenge & Swindon

Three students, who study at Swindon schools, scooped three of the top prizes in The Cotswold Challenge 2021 run by four local business owners. 

The challenge was run this year, for the second time, to support young people who missed out on taking formal GCSEs and A levels (or equivalents) due to Covid19 and various lockdowns. Students from Swindon & The Cotswolds were invited to submit entries in three categories – Art & Design, Creative Writing and Enterprise & Innovation. 

Volunteer organisers Fiona Scott, Allison Murray, Chris Roberts and Nigel Chute secured sponsorship and funding from business owners and organisations across Swindon and the Cotswolds.

“We would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s Challenge,” Fiona Scott, of Swindon-based Scott Media, said. “From our sponsors to our judges and most of all to the young people who took the time to enter and who saw this as an amazing opportunity to showcase their talents to experts in their field – with the possibility of a decent cash prize too!”

Swindon students certainly stepped up with tens of them entering the competition. Ayesha Reeves, who is in Year 13 and attends New College, Swindon, won the Art & Design top prize of £500. Her entry Cocoon elicited high praise from the expert judges. 

Art director and oil artist, Paul Cottrell said: “This captivates the viewer’s attention. It’s beautifully haunting and the pencil work is very sensitive to the subject matter.”

As part of her prize Ayesha will also receive a professional mini photo-shoot carried out by Barbara Leatham Photography.

Another student from New College also won a cash prize. The third place prize of £150 went to Talia Northam, for her Creative Writing entry entitled Did You See Him? 

A joint third place in the Enterprise & Innovation category went to Ben Lawniczak and Oliwier Zwawiak, who attend Lydiard Park Academy and worked jointly on their project entitled ELS Walking Stick.

 Other Swindon schools/colleges scooped prizes with a student from both Dorcan Academy and Swindon College receiving a Highly Commended prize of a £25 book token, whilst Commended certificates went to students from Dorcan Academy, Kingsdown School and The Ridgeway School. New College, Swindon added two Commended certificates to their total of prizes and Lydiard Park Academy also added a Commended certificate to their overall wins.

This year, The Cotswold Challenge invited schools and colleges in and around Swindon to take part alongside Cotswold-based educational establishments and comprised three categories, 150 talented entries; 12 top money prizes; 3 Special Recognition Awards; 12 Highly Commended awards; 26 Commended awards; 25 illustrious judges; 9 generous sponsors; 27 schools/colleges and four members of The Cotswold Challenge team, who organised the initiative – Nigel Chute of Chute Design, Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design, Chris Roberts, freelance writer and Fiona Scott of Fiona Scott Media.

To see a full list of winners, entries, judges’ comments, judges, sponsors and participating schools, please visit:

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