Cumbernauld has won national painting competition - and £6000!

Sarah DevlinSarah Devlin
Sarah Devlin
A Cumbernauld woman who studies at Glasgow School of Art has won a lucrative national portrait competition in a tribute to the founder of an international company who passed away last year.

Sarah Devlin (20) was named as the winner in the contest which aimed to honour the memory of John Woodward, a special needs teacher who would go on to fund the Busy Bees nursery chain which operates in no fewer than eight countries.

The challenge was thrown down to university students across the UK to capture John's life achievements which would also help students further their career in turn.

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After an “overwhelming” response, a shortlist was presented to the judges, which included Busy Bees co-founder Marg Randles as well as a select number of people that knew John best, who then chose three finalists to paint John who died while overseeing the company’s operations in Singapore.

The judges were "blown away" by all three finalists, but after much deliberation, Sarah, who is a former pupil of Cumbernauld Academy was chosen as the winner.

And her portrait will take pride of place in the firm's global headquarters in Staffordshire.

Receiving a generous £6,000 to be put towards university fees or future career plans, Sarah said: “One of the best parts of portraiture is being able to capture someone’s personality without having met them.

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“Upon reading about John, I discovered just how many lives he touched, and how well-regarded he was as a compassionate and selfless individual.

"By focusing the warmest colours on John, I brought this to life, and it is an honour to have been selected as the winner.

"I hope that the painting will serve as a cherished reminder of John, and the impact he had on the lives of so many others.”

Marg Randles OBE, founder of Busy Bees, added: “We wanted to find a way of supporting young people, as John always did, and creating a fitting tribute in his memory that honours his thoughtful and unique character, while also celebrating his brilliance in the childcare sector. Sarah is incredibly talented, and we hope that the prize money helps her to develop even further as an artist.”

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