Special Words Competition Winner



I was so touched by so many of the entries for the Special Words Competition. I always forget – if you ask people for special stories for a competition and a special reason why, then you will get some heartache. You will also get some genius – a special thank you to Sarah for reminding me that Miss Piggy once said ‘Never eat more than you can carry.’ Thank you to everyone who entered. It was a privilege to read your special words and the reasons why.

And that’s also why picking my favourite five was incredibly difficult. Each one was special – well, the clue’s in the competition name, so I was completely stuck on how to choose. It was certain the winner couldn’t be chosen by the specialness of their choice or the importance of the words to them and what they meant. I therefore had to move a little bit away from the stories and read the words themselves. Everyone had an important reason for picking their words, but when it came down to it, I would be the one illustrating them.

So, I looked back over just the words themselves, and very simply picked out the ones that began to form an image in my head when I read them. If I read them and saw them on the page, with the beginnings of an idea of what the illustration would look like, I picked them.

And here they are, my top five competition entries –

1. As a child I spent a lot of time resting in bed from illness. I took up embroidery and there was one piece that my Grandmother gave me to complete. It took me months, as I would often get better & it would be left in a basket under my bed, there waiting for me when I took poorly again. It read ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’, surrounded by flowers and in soft colours ~ your work reminds me of that embroidery and those words are ringing true again & again.’ Lolly Streek

2. “The most important thing a Dad can do for his children is to love their Mum.” I would choose this lovely quote in memory of my most wonderful dad that I lost last week, my parents had been married 59 years and if I won I would give this special gift to my mum as he loved her each and every one of those years, I never once heard them quarrel and never saw them apart.’ Lynn

3. ‘The quote I would love to have is “Because Someone We Love Is In Heaven, There’s A Little Bit Of Heaven In Our Home’ & the reason behind it is, I lost my son in a tragic RTA & my sister brought me a plaque with this quote on & it’s always meant a lot to me, My son’s never far from my mind & yes, I do feel like there’s a little bit of heaven in my home, he may be gone from this life….but he’s still here within my heart.’ Vicki

4. Some of my favourite words are part of a song by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo:
There’s a tapestry of stars above
And you’re the brightest by far
I let you in and you came closer
Now I’m learning all love knows

The lyrics remind me that while love can come from nowhere and take us by surprise, we have to put a little work in to make our relationships successful. Andrew and I used those lines on the first page of our wedding invitations, and an illustration of them would be a wonderful memento of our wedding day and a beautiful decoration for the house we are renovating.

5. I’d like to enter a little something to the Special Words competition. One of my grandfather’s favourite pieces of prose was Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. For anyone who doesn’t know the piece it’s unbelieveably beautiful, comic and tragic in equal measure. The opening lines are special to me because every time I read them or hear them aloud (in particular the BBC Radio versions with Richard Burton narrating) it makes me think of my grandparents’ house and brings back memories of family and childhood.

“To begin at the beginning:
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’ weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.” Ryan

I numbered them in the order that I received the entries and then found a random number picker on the internet. This one, in case you’re interested (after doing my usual reading about the nature of ‘random’ and the difficulty in achieving it).

And the winner is…Number Five – Ryan. Congratulations!

Well, it will be quite a challenge to fit all your special words on one A4 page Ryan, but it’s one I am very much looking forward to.

Again, thank you so much to everyone who entered. Each one was truly special – I wish I could draw them all!

Keep an eye out, and I will update you when the illustration is done. Wish me luck!