THE winners of a popular competition for school children to design a colourful bench for CrownGate Shopping Centre have been selected.

CrownGate BookBench competition, in its third year, invites students aged seven and over, to submit design ideas for book-shaped seating for the shopping centre, all depicting interpretations of their favourite reads.

There were nearly 400 entries from 19 schools, colleges and universities, and nine designs have been selected.

An independent panel of judges were looking for originality and creativity, along with consideration of how the design would translate onto the actual benches, and have chosen nine winning designs.

The winners are Martha Worsley from Martley CE Primary, Fearne Speak from RGS Springfield, Kaia Langley from Powick C of E Primary, Ethan Tan from Powick C of E Primary School, Catherine Rendall-Baker from King’s St Albans, Grace Sherwood and Star Freeman from Ipsley CE RSA Academy, Ella Ford from Nunnery Wood High, Jessica Giles from Wyre Forest and Megan Pratchett from Heart of Worcestershire College.

The schools have been notified and received their blank benches for the youngsters to paint and bring their design to life.

Sara Matthews, CrownGate Shopping Centre marketing manager, said: “We have once again been astounded by the response from local schools. The time, effort and enthusiasm applied by the students is evident in their designs and it made the job of judging an almost impossible task.”

Jo House, a teacher from Martley CE Primary School, said: “We always encourage the children to enter this competition, as it supports our belief promoting reading for pleasure, as well using design and creative skills to draw their ideas.

"We were so thrilled to hear that one of our pupils had won. The whole school had seen last years’ winners in CrownGate, so to know that their classmate will be painting one was really exciting.”

The idea for the BookBench competition originally came from the National Literacy Trust’s Books About Town art trail across London.

An exhibition of designs will go on display on Saturday, July 1, running for nine weeks, when the benches will also be unveiled.