Christmas came early for one lucky Walsall school child on Saturday 21st November as eight year old Mason Jones won a special Santa sleigh ride following the Victorian Arcade Shopping Centre’s ‘Design a Christmas Tree’ competition.

The competition, which ran throughout November, invited children aged 11 and under to draw, paint, colour or decorate the Christmas tree of their dreams. With over 150 entries from local youngsters, the competition was fierce and entries were of an exceptionally high standard with creative imaginations in full swing.

Some of the favorites in the judging process included a tree made entirely of sweets, a ‘Frozen’ themed creation with full size decorations, a sparkling tree design drawn completely with glitter pens and even a musical tree with tuneful decor.  

Only one child could win the competition however and Mason Jones’ tree was declared the winner due to his unique hand printing technique to make the tree’s branches, as well as his use of battery lights which cleverly lit up the tree behind the picture giving it an amazing glow.

As part of the prize Mason rode through town alongside Santa in a festive sleigh, drawn by two magnificent shire horses.  What’s more, he received a host of presents including a number of LEGO Bionicle toys, a hamper of chocolate and a 2016 calendar from his favourite football club West Bromwich.

If that weren’t enough, Mason’s school Delves Junior School in Walsall was awarded £100 to spend towards their art department and/or festive celebrations.

All the entries are displayed in the window of Santa’s grotto in the Victorian Arcade for all of Walsall to see.

Darren Griffiths, Senior Regional Facilities Manager of GBR Phoenix Beard, commented:

“Santa has a very tough job in delivering presents each year, but choosing a winning entry to our competition was his toughest challenge yet.  Congratulations to Mason and a special mention to all our entrants for their fantastic drawings, painting and creative Christmas designs”.

Santa’s Grotto is situated within Victorian Arcade Shopping Centre and will be open every Saturday 10am-3pm in the run up to Christmas.  Entry costs £2.50 per child and includes a gift from Santa.