National treasure Julie Walters came to Horsham this week to present four teenagers with some very special awards.
The internationally renowned actress and writer, known for her performances in hit stage, TV and film productions, popped down to the Capitol Theatre, in North Street, on Tuesday where she handed out certificates to four lucky students who created the winning designs for this year’s Samaritans Christmas card competition.
The charity, which provides support for people who need someone to talk to, challenged students at The College of Richard Collyer to come up with new designs for this year’s Christmas cards.
The entries were judged by art experts and people involved with the charity where the top five creations were chosen as this year’s designs.
Julie, who lives near Loxwood, is the patron of the charity and she said she was really happy to be there to show her support for the cause and meet the winners.
She said: “The artwork and the exhibition I have seen are both amazing. I think the fact the Samaritans are even in existence gives me some hope in humanity. Mental health is something that has been pushed to the background and needs to be talked about more. It is a really lovely reason to come down and do something like this.”
The four winners were presented with a certificate each by Julie and were also given goody bags by representatives of the charity.
Noah Verbeeten, 17, from Horsham, won two awards as the judges were impressed with two of his designs.
He said: “I am very happy. It was hard trying to design something people would like. I am really pleased.”
Isobel Tuckwell, 17, from Reigate, said: “I was really surprised and very pleased to win. It is a really good charity and it is great to be supporting it.”
Rachel Lee, 17, Horsham, was also extremely pleased that her design had been chosen.
She said: “It feels really good. We did not know it would be such a big thing. It was a bit of a surprise.”
Lucy Boorman, 18, Hurstpierpoint, also picked up an award. She said: “It was brilliant. It is really nice to give something back to a charity I use myself. I am astounded and amazed I have won and incredibly happy.”
This is the first time the event has been run by the charity and Sue Jago, director of Horsham and Crawley Samaratans, said she was overwhelmed by the support and thanked everyone involved.
She said: “I am obviously overwhelmed by it all really. I am really really happy with how it has turned out and it is lovely to see all the artists here.”
The new cards are on sale at the Horsham Museum as well as the theatre.