Hassocks child designs MP's Christmas card

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has selected a painting by a Year 8 pupil at Downland Community School in Hassocks to feature on his official Christmas card this year.

12-year old Reine Tucker's stunning impression of the South Downs in the snow was selected by Mr Herbert when he visited the school on Friday (23 November).

Each year the MP sends a card depicting an image from his Arundel and South Downs constituency.  This year Mr Herbert had invited the pupils of Downlands to design the Christmas card.

The MP was presented with a wide selection of paintings to choose from, created by pupils from all of the year groups.

Three runners-up in the competition, Jess Ovendum, Connie Bass and Hayley Penn, will receive a prize from the MP.

Villagers and visitors to Hassocks will be able to view the shortlisted selection of art in the windows of Mansell McTaggart estate agents in Hassocks High Street during the Christmas period. 

Mr Herbert's visit formed part of Parliament Week activities and gave pupils the opportunity to quiz their MP about his work and government policies. 

The questions came from Downland's ‘Lead Learners', a group of 40 students who are elected by their teachers and tutors to be consulted about issues at the school. 

Mr Herbert was asked about his life as an MP, his time at university, and education policies.  Homework was one subject that roused much debate amongst the pupils.

Later, the MP was also able to discuss current issues in education policy with Downland's headteacher, Rose Hetherton, and chair of governors, Diana Hunt.

After the visit, Rose Hetherton said:"Mr Herbert's visit to Downlands provided a wonderful opportunity for our Lead Learners to "grill" their local MP on matters that were of interest and concern to them relating to parliament, Party Policies and education issues. "

Nick Herbert added: "I was very impressed not just by the quality of the children's artwork, but by the trouble they had taken in their own time to do their paintings.  I am very grateful to the children and the school for taking part in the competition.

"It was very hard to choose a winner, and the paintings by the runners-up were also excellent.  But I thought that Reine Tucker's painting of the Downs was beautiful, and especially appropriate for my Christmas Card."