Published: 10:15, 27 September 2021
| Updated: 13:43, 27 September 2021
The Royal Mail has unveiled 120 potential new stamp designs, all drawn by children, as finalists in its Heroes of the Pandemic competition - with five of them from Kent.
Keyworkers, mums and dads, refuse collectors, Captain Sir Tom Moore, teachers and supermarket workers - many sketched under colourful rainbows - all feature in the designs which have been chosen from a staggering 606,049 submitted.
There have only been five times in its 500-year history that Royal Mail has used designs created by children. These were in 1966, 1981, 1992, 2013 and last in 2017.
More than 7,000 schools submitted drawings to help secure a Guinness World Records title for the largest postage stamp design competition, which was open to all youngsters in the UK aged between four and 14, who earlier this year were asked to mark the important role people played during the pandemic.
Each of the 120 regional finalists will be given £100 in gift vouchers and £100 for their school, before judges begin the tough task of choosing just eight for a special set of stamps that will be released next year.
The young winners will follow in the footsteps of many highly acclaimed children's illustrators including Quentin Blake, Nick Park and Axel Scheffler who have all designed stamps in the past.
The previous highest number of entries received for a stamp design competition was 239,374, achieved for Royal Mail’s Christmas Stamp Design Competition held in 2013.
Simon Thompson, Royal Mail CEO, said: "We would like to thank all of the 606,049 children who submitted such brilliant designs to the competition. We have been amazed and impressed by the sheer volume of entries. And to have achieved a Guinness World Records title in the process shows how much the UK’s children value those heroes who have kept the nation moving during such a difficult period.
"To the 120 regional finalists - well done! We are really looking forward to seeing the winning eight designs!”
To arrive at the 120 regional finalists, a network of judges, consisting of current and retired art teachers, evaluated each of the 606,049 entries choosing children from each age group over a three month period.
From the 120 regional finalists, a special panel of judges will now determine the winning 24 regional designs in November.
From these 24 entries, eight winning images will be chosen as official Royal Mail stamps. They will then appear on millions of items of mail across the UK when they are issued in the Spring of 2022. But as with all special stamps issued by the Royal Mail - the final eight will be sent to Her Majesty The Queen for a final seal of approval before they can be printed and issued.
Full details can be found at www.royalmail.com/stampcompetition