A school girl from Rasharkin has won a Northern Ireland wide story writing competition run in partnership with Ulster Bank, AgriKids and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.
Clidhna McTague (10) from St. Patrick’s Primary School’s winning idea warns children about the risks of playing near animals on a farmyard and will feature in an important new teaching resource used to promote the issue of farm safety in schools.
Ulster Bank, the principal sponsor of the Balmoral Show, invited school pupils to create a short-story highlighting one of the four key risk areas identified by the HSENI which are Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment. Children were also asked to incorporate the characters from popular book series AgriKids into their story to promote farm safety.
Four winners were selected from the hundreds of entries received by judges representing the key organisations involved and have since been compiled into an impressive book of short-stories which was officially launched at the Ulster Bank marquee on the first morning of the Show.
The stories will also be available to download as an eBook free of charge.
On top of having their idea professionally produced into a story book, each of the winners also received a selection of goodies for themselves and books for their school courtesy of AgriKids along with a class pass to the Balmoral Show, including transport and lunch at the event provided by Ulster Bank.
Ulster Bank’s Senior Agricultural Manager Cormac McKervey says, “In Northern Ireland, farming is one of our most important industries but we are still seeing tragedies and fatal accidents occurring far too often. We believe that education has a centrally important role to play in helping to ensure the number of sad incidents continues to decrease and to prevent those working or living on a farm from taking unnecessary risks.
“We were especially pleased to have the support of AgriKids, HSENI and the RUAS to help create this book of short-stories which we are confident will be a very useful teaching resource for schools. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their entries and of course congratulate each of our four winners on their excellent ideas.”
Bryan Monson from the Health and Safety Executive says that finding new and innovative ways to keep promoting the issue of farm safety is essential to ensure the message resonates with our young people.
“We are very pleased that once again Ulster Bank has decided to actively encourage schools to pay closer attention to the issue of farm safety. The resource that has been created has the potential to play a key role in educating thousands of young people about the dangers playing on a farm can pose and give sound advice on how to stay safe. I would like to congratulate Meredith and each of the other winners and look forward to using the book when we deliver our school talks.”