AN ABERGELE schoolboy with designs on becoming a professional comic book illustrator is using his artistic talent to help a lettings agency raise money for a children’s hospice.
Eleven-year-old Lincoln Roberts is so crazy about comics that he spends most of his spare time collecting back numbers and currently has around 100 at home.
He also wants to get himself a job illustrating the stories which go into them when he leaves school.
His artistic ambitions made Lincoln the perfect choice to enter a competition being run by Angela Jones, the owner of Elwy Lettings, to design new To Let boards for her business, which operates across Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire. Currently based in Denbigh, it is planning to open new premises in Rhyl and Conwy.
For every one of the winning boards that is put up, Elwy Lettings is pledging to donate £20 to the Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospice in the Conwy Valley which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and needs to raise £1.4 million a year just to keep its doors open.
Angela was spurred into action following a visit to the hospice and as a result, she has organised the competition involving schools in Abergele, Rhyl and Denbigh.
Among the goodies up for grabs in the competition are a family ticket for the Greenwood Forest Park in Gwynedd along with a children’s party in the Chocolate Shop in Denbigh and cash prizes.
Angela has embarked on a round of visits to the three schools involved to help brief the young artists on the sort of eye-catching designs she’s looking for when it comes to the new boards.
And stopping off at Ysgol Sant Elfod in Abergele she met children from Year Six who are getting involved in the competition, including the talented Lincoln Roberts who lives in Abergele and has a passion for comics.
Lincoln said: “I love art and when I leave school I want to be an illustrator for comics. I really love comics and for a few years now I’ve been collecting them.
“I have over 100 so far, mainly the classic Marvel ones, which I’ve either had given to me as presents or bought myself, sometimes from an online auction site.
“I’ve already been in a competition in school to design a cover for the children’s book by David Walliams called Awful Auntie. I didn’t win the overall competition, which was earlier this year, but my design was put up in our school for everyone to see.
“I can’t wait to get started on my design for the To Let board and I’m thinking I could do something based on a 3D picture of a house.”
Another winning designer from Ysgol Sant Elfod eager to enter the Elwy Lettings competition was 11-year-old Thomas Frost from Kinmel Bay.
His previous credits include coming up with one of the winning designs for Christmas lights which his school took part recently.
“The overall winning design was to be put up on the lamp-posts in Abergele. Mine was based on a big star. I wasn’t the main winner but it was a lot of fun to do and I can’t wait to start working on this new competition. I think it might be based on a house with the writing all around it,” he said.
Also hoping to come up with the winning design was classmate Emily Stafford, 11, from Towyn.
Emily, who one of the winners of a competition to design a new school Christmas card a couple of years ago, said: “My Christmas card design had a snowman on it but I don’t know yet while I’ll be doing for this competition, I’ll have to have a good think about it. But I’m looking forward to doing it very much.”
One of Ysgol Sant Elfod’s Year Six teachers, Elaine Lovatt, said: “Two of our children from the school have benefitted from the marvellous care at Ty Gobaith, which makes our involvement in this competition very relevant.
“We have up to 50 children in our Year Six and many of them are very keen to enter the competition to help the hospice and to try and win one of the prizes.”
Mum of two Angela, 44, from Elwy Lettings, explained: “Basically, I told the children at Ysgol Sant Elfod that what they come up with should be bright, colourful and eye-catching, and can even have a fun theme.
“The winning design won’t just be used on the To Let board but will also be used as a key part of the general re-branding we’re doing of the company at the moment.
“That means it will appear on our website and emails and will also be prominently displayed on big boards in our offices in Denbigh and Rhyl.
“For every To Let board that we put up on a property we will make a donation of £20 to Tŷ Gobaith. We will also ask our landlords to match fund the donation. They don’t have to, it would just be voluntary.
“I was very impressed with all the children I met at Ysgol Sant Elfod who will be taking part in the competition and I’m looking forward to getting some fantastic entries from them.
“The best designs will be judged by a panel including myself and a senior figure from the hospice and we’ll be unveiling the results before Christmas. In the meantime, we’re hoping to put all the designs on our own and Ty Gobaith’s social media sites for everyone to see.”
Angela added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all three schools who have agreed to take part in the competition and wish the children all the best of luck with their entries.
“I think it’s wonderful that children are helping other children by supporting the hospice in this way.
“I have been very lucky because none of my children has been very ill.
“I was absolutely blown away by the visit to Tŷ Gobaith and what they do, not just for children going in to the unit but also in the community for children and families. It was a very humbling experience.
“My family members have always raised money or Tŷ Gobaith, it has always been something very close to the family’s heart.
“The staff at Tŷ Gobaith put so much into it, their heart and soul, and when you go there and you see what they do and what they give to families and children, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Joining Angela Jones on the visit to Ysgol Sant Elfod was Tŷ Gobaith’s fundraising officer Eluned Yaxley.
She spoke to all the children about how the hospice looks after the children who go there and added: “This is an amazing project and for us it’s a huge privilege to be working alongside Elwy Lettings.
“The children I met were all very enthusiastic about getting involved and I’m sure we’re going to see some stunning works of art.
“The profile that we’re going to get through the new boards is just going to heighten awareness that we are a local children’s hospice throughout North Wales and that we depend upon such people as Elwy Lettings.
“We need over £1.4 million for Tŷ Gobaith alone annually and we depend upon voluntary donated income.
“The services that we have are vital. We care for life-threatened and life-limited babies, children and young people, young adults through to the age of 25, and support for their families.
“In addition to that, they can have care within the hospice or within the family home and we provide trauma support as well. We are there to provide a service for any family that needs our care.
“We also do a lot of outreach work in the community. We offer bereavement and counselling and trauma support to the wider community here in North Wales and beyond from Tŷ Gobaith to all the areas we cover.
“We work closely with local emergency services, coroner’s offices and we get called upon to provide community outreach care for any family that needs us who is bereaved of a child in traumatic circumstances or a child who is bereaved of any family member through any traumatic circumstance.
“We help children and families meet death with dignity, give them the dignity through death and we’re there then as the crutch at the other end as well, as a shoulder for them to lean on once the inevitable has happened.
“The service continues for as long as any family member wants it. We care for some families, especially in Hope House, because we’ve been open there for nearly 20 years, but we care for bereaved families for 15-20 years down the line.
“We’re celebrating our tenth birthday this year and it’s thanks to the support of some wonderful friends such as Elwy Lettings that we have been able to stay open for the last 10 years and we’re extremely grateful, not just to Elwy Lettings, but to everybody for supporting us for the last 10 years.”