And the Peer Factor winners are ...

The Lord Speaker’s 2011 competition for 11 to 16 year olds ‘The Peer Factor: Who Would You Put in the House of Lords and Why?’ ran from 21 January until 13 May and received 286 entries representing the work of 499 young people – a record in the competition’s three year history.

Three entries, representing the work of 12 young people, made it to the top.

  • Mary-Beth Patterson, submitted an essay nominating former chief executive of the Charity Commission, Andrew Hind.
  • Ten students from Class 8 Alpha, aged between 12 and 13 years old, at Bishop Challoner School in Kent, submitted a short film nominating Manola Toschi-Restivo, Director of Sport at the school – or Mrs Restivo as she is known to them.
  • Anna Mammedova, submitted an essay nominating Keith Ross, caseworker with the Welsh Refugee Council and a Green Party member and candidate in the 2010 General Election.

Mary-Beth Patterson

Fifteen-year-old Mary-Beth Patterson, from Earlston High School in Berwickshire was impressed by the way Andrew Hind, former chief executive of the Charities Commission, used his career in accountancy to help many charities. Mary-Beth felt that with Andrew’s ability to adapt his skills to help others, he would be an ideal Member of the House of Lords, using his expertise to benefit society as a whole.

The Scottish student said of her win: ‘I am absolutely delighted and I didn't expect to win! I am really looking forward to the opportunity to be able to visit Parliament and I feel that Andrew Hind merits his position as a recommended Peer in the House of Lords in terms of his contribution to charity. He is a hugely inspirational person!’

Andrew Hind said:

‘I am thrilled to have been nominated by Mary-Beth and congratulate her on being selected as one of the winners in this year's Lord Speaker's competition. The role of the House of Lords is becoming more, not less, important, and it is critical that young people engage with its work. In the civil society field, the Lords is a repository of huge knowledge and personal experience, with peers playing a key role in shaping the policy framework for charitable action across the UK.’

Class 8 Alpha, Bishop Challoner School

The team of 10 students nominated their form teacher and Director of Sports at Bishop Challoner School in Bromley, Kent, Manola Toschi-Restivo. The 12 and 13 year olds chose Mrs Restivo for nomination because she is kind, hard-working and always there if they need her. They thought that she had all the personal qualities a Member of the House of Lords should have.

On hearing of their win, student Sally Martin said: ‘When Mrs Restivo told us that we had won the Peer Factor competition and that I would be going to the House of Lords I thought that this was an amazing opportunity and I was over the moon.  When we were making the video, I had no idea that we could win. It was lots of fun and I liked editing it. I know I made a few mistakes but Mrs Restivo said not to worry, the video was brilliant. When the video was sent I prayed that we would win and it came true.’  

Classmate, Tom O’Gorman, said: ‘We had a great time making the video. I'm glad all our hard work paid off. It’s a privilege to be one of the winners. Thank you.’

Fellow team member, Rachel Tillotson, added: ‘I was amazed and chuffed that we were picked as the winners of the Peer Factor. Thank you to the judging panel for picking us.’

Mrs Restivo said:

‘I am delighted for my pupils that their efforts should be rewarded thus. This is a great reflection upon Bishop Challoner School and all its pupils and left me with a deep sense of gratitude and personal pride in the trust and affection displayed by them, which I shall cherish always.’

Anna Mammedova

For 16-year-old Anna Mammedova, from Olchfa School in Swansea, Keith Ross has proved to be an inspiring role model because of his active citizenship. Anna and her family are refugees from Azerbaijan and Keith has been their caseworker during the six years they have been in the UK. Anna nominated him because of his already tested skills in scrutinising the government’s work and making its social and economic policies work for vulnerable people.

On hearing of her win, Anna said: ‘I am really, really happy! I was confident about my essay but I did not expect to win.’

Keith Ross said: ‘I’m so pleased that Anna has nominated me for the House of Lords for the Peer Factor competition. More importantly, I’m absolutely delighted for Anna as her achievement is so remarkable when you consider that English is not her first language.’

Peer Factor Winners’ Day

The Peer Factor winners will attend a special Winners’ Day at the House of Lords on Monday 27 June. They’ll be given a tour of the Houses of Parliament, have lunch with the Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman and get the opportunity to discuss their entries with the judging panel. Each winning team/group will also receive a £100 prize.

The Hansard Society is compiling all of the entries to the Peer Factor competition into a report that will be submitted to the House of Lords.

All entrants to the competition will receive a signed certificate from the Lord Speaker, acknowledging their contributions.

Related information

The House of Lords competition is run with the support of the Hansard Society. Entries will be judged initially by the Hansard Society’s Citizenship Education Programme.