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Stormzy, Kelly Holmes and Mary Seacole celebrated in 100 Great Black Britons school competition

Inspirational Black British figures have been celebrated in essays, poems and artwork by schoolchildren across the UK.

Stormzy, Kelly Holmes and Mary Seacole are among the inspirational figures recognised in a competition celebrating the achievements of Black people in Britain.

The 100 Great Black Britons home school competition invited children and young people to create a unique way to celebrate Black British history.

Poems, essays and artwork were among the 1,500 entries received.

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The competition, which was launched in light of the school closures brought on by Covid-19, encouraged pupils to learn more about the legacy of Black people in Britain and how they shaped the country.

The 100 Great Black Britons campaign was first launched in 2004 by Patrick Vernon OBE. Over the past 16 years, the campaign has continued to celebrate inspiring Black British people.

Vernon said of the home school competition: “I am amazed by the fantastic response and quality of entries. It demonstrates the appetite for more inclusion of Black history into the national curriculum.”

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Lisa Death, from Suffolk, won the Preschool category with a collage celebrating Mary Seacole. Seacole was voted as the greatest Black Briton by the public in 2004, when the campaign first launched.

Theo Woodhouse’s model racetrack celebrating Colin Jackson won in the key stage one category.

Also paying tribute to the Crimean war nurse was Holly Hicks, from Berkshire, who won the Key Stage 3 category with her poem.

Trevor Sterling, chair of the Mary Seacole Trust, said: “This is an incredibly important competition, raising awareness of great Black Britons, which educates and inspires young people.”

Theo Woodhouse, from Streatham, won a Key Stage 1 category with his model racetrack paying tribute to former 110m hurdles world record holder Colin Jackson.

Bethany Higgins’s artwork celebrating Stormzy.

Scarlett O’Connor is another Key Stage 1 winner. She drew a picture of Olympic gold medal winner Kelly Holmes.

Mahithi Krishna won the Key Stage 2 category for her tribute to British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful. Her school in Kensington said: “[Mahithi is] very proud to have been able to contribute towards the recognition of talented individuals from a Black British background.”

Other Britons honoured in the competition include violin virtuoso George Bridgetower. The musician was celebrated by Caitlyn Bailey, from Hertfordshire, who won the Key Stage 4 category with her poster.

Bethany Higgins, from south London, also paid tribute to a musician with her artwork of the rapper Stormzy. Her entry earned her a place as runner-up in the Key Stage 4 category.

Lewis Hamilton, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Dina Asher-Smith were celebrated in an essay by Molly Marshall, from Suffolk, who won the category for Young People (16-25).

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary for the National Education Union (NEU), which sponsored the initiative, said the competition “shows what can be achieved to demonstrate Black history beyond the confines of the national curriculum.”

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