The winners and the ‘Pupils’ Peers’ represented three corners of the UK:
- Mary-Beth Patterson, who 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, who submitted a short film nominating Manola Toschi-Restivo, Director of Sport at the school – or Mrs Restivo as she is known to them. Team members, Sarah Wilson, Gabriel Kirby and Sarah Martin attended the Winners Day
- Anna Mammedova, who submitted an essay nominating Keith Ross, caseworker with the Welsh Refugee Council and a Green Party member and candidate in the 2010 General Election.
The Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman, presented them with their winners’ certificates and £100 prizes. And like President Obama before them, the winners received their own personal tour of the Parliament as part of their day at the Palace of Westminster.
Nominees delighted to have ‘Peer Factor’
The competition’s nominees for membership of the House of Lords were pleased to be considered to have the ‘Peer Factor’ and delighted by the winners’ success.
Mrs Restivo said the nomination had left her with a ‘deep sense of gratitude and personal pride in the trust and affection displayed’ that she would always cherish. ‘I was absolutely thrilled and really grateful to them. I’m very proud of the children,’ she added.
Keith Ross said, ‘I’m amazed at Anna’s success. But I’ve been working with her family for some time and know that she’s a bright spark, so this is just the cream on the cake!’ He added: ‘The thing about the whole competition, particularly the prize winners, is that they cast aside culture and chose real people – people who they know personally and who had inspired them. And I think that gives real hope for the future. If young people are thinking that way, then maybe the youth of today isn’t as bad as it is made out to be.’
Winners’ nominations would impress Lord Appointments Commission
The winners had the opportunity to discuss their entries with the Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman, Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde and Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope, who were on the judging panel, as well as member of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton.
Baroness Hayman commented: ‘None of the winners are people who are immediately known to large numbers of the public. But they are people that those young people who know them well have assessed against their criteria for being an effective member of a revising second chamber could make a fantastic contribution. And that was the thing that made all three of these winning entries stand out from some fascinating, some funny and some very innovative entries that we had.’
Only slightly disappointed that the lack of celebrities in the winning entries meant she wouldn’t be sitting next to her favourite pop star in the House of Lords anytime soon, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton was impressed by the quality of entries to the competition. They were the kind of nominations that would ‘spring out of the page for those of us who are on the Appointments Commission, which goes through hundreds of nominations each year to see who would be the right sort of person for the House of Lords. And one of the nominations would stand a very good chance before the Lords Appointments Commission,’ she added
The competition is part of the House of Lords outreach programme which aims to increase understanding of the work of the House of Lords through a range of opportunities for targeted audiences across the UK. This was the fourth competition to be sponsored by the Lord Speaker and funded by her charitable Woolsack fund.
Image: Parliamentary copyright. Left to right: Anna Mammedova; Keith Ross; Mary-Beth Patterson; Baroness Campbell of Surbiton; Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope; the Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman; Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde; Class 8 Alpha at Bishop Challoner School: Gabriel Kirby; Sarah Wilson; Mrs Manola Toschi-Restivo; Ilenia Nola; Mrs Dwyer Burchill; and Sally Martin.