A SCHOOLBOY who drew a winning picture to represent Northumberland Day has been praised for his artistic skills – and a plea has gone out to have it turned into an official stamp.

Oliver Stirk took part in the ‘design a stamp’ contest, which appeared in the 2018 Northumberland Day education pack, when he was a year 4 pupil at Mickley First School.

Organisers of the event, who said they were impressed by his simple but beautifully shaded and coloured drawing of Sycamore Gap, had intended to use the Royal Mail ‘Smilers’ service to produce stamps of Oliver’s design.

But Royal Mail has recently cancelled the service, and now details of what would have been the Northumberland Day stamp for 2019 will be sent to Royal Mail HQ by Northumberland Day organisers, with a plea to one day bring the service back so that Oliver, now a Highfield Middle School pupil, can see his stamp brought to life as legal postal tender.

The team are still spreading the winning image and rewarding Oliver with a prize of a book token, while some of his former classmates will also be sent prizes for their entries, which all depicted castles.

Lynsey Briddock, deputy head teacher at Mickley First School, says: “The children really enjoyed taking part in the stamp design activity, which made them combine their knowledge of Northumberland with their artistic skills.

“Hopefully, if Royal Mail do a U-turn on their decision to withdraw the Smilers service, Oliver may one day see his stamp come to fruition.”

This year’s Northumberland Day takes place on May 28, and the education pack will have other competitions to engage youngsters.