THE winners of this art contest were left empty handed in March due to coronavirus – but look at their beaming faces now.

More than 35 prizes and 30 commendations were handed to primary pupils across the district for this year's Cameron Bespolka Trust competition.

A prizegiving ceremony had been scheduled in March at The Pilgrims’ School, but was postponed

Victoria Meinel, head of visual arts at St Swithun's Prep School, said: "We were once again eager to take part in the Cameron Bespolka Trust’s annual art competition. The children were truly inspired by this year’s 'British Wildlife' theme and produced some very creative responses.

"It was wonderful to see them take the time to look more closely at local wildlife and, consequently, develop a deeper appreciation of the natural environment.

"Zoe Turner from our school was delighted to receive the overall winner prize for her striking painting of a pine marten and is looking forward to testing out her binoculars from the RSPB soon."

The Most Promising Artist Award, sponsored by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, was given to Year 3 pupil Thomas McKee at Westgate for his drawing of a fox.

St Bede once again won the School Prize for the school with the most winning and commended entries.

Head teacher Sarah Duck received a bag of bird seed donated by Pets Corner and a feeder donated by Peter and Paul wild bird food.

Prizes to pupils from Year 3 to Year 8 included bug houses, robin nests and a kings of prey bird identification book.

Sarah Wigley of the Cameron Bespolka Trust said: "After three successful years, we are looking to hold our next primary school art competition at Cameron’s Cottage, an educational place in the heart of the RSPB reserve Franchises Lodge in the New Forest, where children can be immersed in wildlife and nature.

"The cottage’s renovation is already underway and we estimate that it will be open in June 2021."

Participating schools were St Bede, Westgate, Oliver’s Battery, St Faith’s, St Peters, Osborne SEN, Kings’, Stanmore, Weeke, St Swithun’s and The Pilgrims’ School.

The judges were: art and design teacher at the University of Winchester Maria Vinney, local artist Puff Morgan-Giles and Jane Jenner, former head of art from Pilgrims'.