Once a year, Brighton and Hove City Council hold a children's poster competition called Flower's in our Street. Every child in the city can enter by submitting a drawing or painting either via their school or individually.
Amber had half completed a painting that she was going to submit last year, but due to her school closing down (and a very long story), the picture was never completed and subsequently never entered.
I spotted it lying around a couple of months ago and suggested that she finish it off and enter the competition via her current primary school. We had to dig around for the same shiny paints etc, but finally it was finished.
A condition of submitting the drawing is that you do not get it back, because there are so many entries it is just impossible to return. It was such a pretty painting that I wanted to get a photocopy of it before it was submitted, so after a lot of running around to different establishments and outlets, (it was on A3 and not many places have good quality A3 photocopying facilities), I finally managed to get a half decent copy, stuck that on her wall and sent the other one off.
That was the end of that. Forgot about it.
Two weeks ago she had a letter through from Brighton and Hove City Council, (I thought it was over a lost library book and was wondering how much a replacement would be), but it wasn't, it was a letter informing her she had reached the finals in her age category and an invitation for Amber and one parent to attend a presentation at The Grand Hotel in Brighton.
The City Mayor Mr Garry Peltzer-Dunn would present her with a certificate, plus the sponsor (the owner of the Regency Restaurant in Brighton) would present her with a prize.
I could not believe my eyes when I read this. This type of thing does not happen in our family. Life is usually full of misery and woe isn't it?
We went out and bought her a nice dress and a pair of little shoes to match. I arranged for Hubby to take care of Olly, however, the day before Hubby got called out to work (typical), but I managed to find day-care for Olly but only until 5.30pm. The presentation was at 4pm, so we could just about squeeze it in provided it didn't go on too long.
We arrive at the Grand and got dressed in their powder rooms, put a bit of make-up on and made our way out into the lobby. Amber looked so smart I was really proud of her. I got chatting to another mother and was mid-gossip saying 'my son Olly wonder's why the Mayor wears so much 'bling'..' when the Mayor himself stood in front of me! As always, when one is caught in the act of misbehaviour a sweet smile and 'Hello, nice to meet you,' is definitely required. Mortifying!
We didn't really know what to expect, I thought there might be about 40 kids or so in the finals but as we made our way into the Albert Room , hanging on the wall were the paintings of the four finalists in each category, so Amber had done really well.
The compare for the afternoon was Neil Pringle from Southern Counties Radio who did a good job steadying our nerves, breaking the ice and livening us up.
They read the finalists out in reverse order, 4th place to 1st. Under 7's, 8-10, 11-16 and 16-18. If I had entered into this kind of competition I would not even have made the finals, so I kept waiting for them to call out her name, but it seemed to take ages, then finally they called her and she had come 2nd place in the 8-10's. Never have so proud. My eyes were welling up. I yelled with delight and leaped up, snapping away with my camera - the pictures are a bit fuzzy, but I got one of her receiving her certificate from the Mayor and the prize from the Regency owner.
Our local paper, The Argus had a photographer present, Darren Cool (yes that is his real name), and he was snapping away, so I hope it will be in the paper soon.
The little girl who came first in Amber's category also won the overall competition and her name and picture will be used in campaigns across Brighton.
All the finalists got their pictures back, so it managed to find it's way home. They also gave the children balloons to take away also, except Amber let hers go and it ended up at the top of a 40ft ceiling, so I had to nick one from a table. We couldn't stay for tea and cake because I had to get back and pick up Olly, but on the way home, Amber threw a right strop because she hadn't come first!
I couldn't believe my ears!
Moaning and crying she was.....it was dreadful. I got really cross and stopped the car and said to her 'with an attitude like that you don't deserve to win'.
What is wrong with this girl? Is winning that important?
I had half an hour of being totally euphoric and was then plunged back into the depths of despair.
She has taken her certificate to school to show the class and despite her probable hormonal attitude I am still proud of her and I hope you like her picture.