Midlothian Scottish Water poster contest winner gets her message across

Ruby Maxwell's colourful artwork for the Scottish Water Midlothian campaign.
Ruby Maxwell's colourful artwork for the Scottish Water Midlothian campaign.

A primary school pupil from Mayfield has been chosen as the winner of a poster competition to remind people what they should put down the loo.

Ruby Maxwell’s colourful artwork shows a bottle of water giving the thumbs up to what should go down toilets while warning people ‘Don’t rush for the flush!’.

Her artwork shows two water pipes – one running smoothly and the other with items often wrongly put down loos which are seen to pollute the water. It also warns locals that if they want to “Save the River Esk” they have to “Play their part” by not flushing things like wet wipes down the loo.

Ruby, a P7 pupil at St Luke’s RC Primary School, was one of more than 180 pupils to enter a competition run by Scottish Water to promote its 3Ps message in Midlothian. It was part of a wider campaign to stop people putting non-flushable items into the sewer network following pollution incidents at the Mary Burn in Lord Ancrum’s Wood.

The 11-year-old said: “I am really happy to have been chosen as the winner – I enjoy drawing a lot. I would love to be a sketch artist when I’m older. Winning this competition has made me closer to pursuing this ambition.”

The winning design is now on display on the large billboard at the entrance to Newtongrange. It is hoped people who see it will be urged to remember they have a part to play in protecting the local environment. It will be on display for a month.

St Luke’s headteacher, Lindsey Walker, said: “As a school we are delighted that our pupils took part in this project and are now more aware of the 3Ps message.

“Ruby’s poster is absolutely fantastic and shares the message beautifully. As a school we are extremely proud of her achievement. Well done to all who took part as the posters were all fantastic.”

In second place was Mya Logan, a P7 pupil at King’s Park Primary in Dalkeith; in third was Teagan McColl, a P7 pupil at St Luke’s and in fourth place was Isla Cunningham, who is in P4 at Newtongrange Primary School. All four finalists will receive a prize.

Midlothian Provost Peter Smaill congratulated all the youngsters who entered. He said: “What a fantastic response. The standard of entries was absolutely terrific. Well done to Ruby, whose poster is going to be a great reminder to us all about what to flush down our toilets.”

Colin Beattie, Midlothian North MSP, added: “Ruby’s poster is fantastic – both eye-catching and informative. She is a well-deserved winner in my eyes and her picture will definitely help get across a serious message in a fun fashion. Well done Ruby.”

And Midlothian South MSP Christine Grahame said: “I was delighted to have the chance to see the entries as a judge, there were lots of fantastic efforts from different local schools - I congratulate Ruby on being chosen as a worthy winner and look forward to seeing the poster in its full glory on the Newtongrange billboard.

“This competition has been a great way of engaging children in the importance of looking after our waterways. I’m sure they’ll spread the “3Ps” message throughout their families and friends which, along with the billboard, could have a real effect in reducing pollution in Midlothian.”

As part of the campaign Scottish Water staff visited a number of primary schools in the area and talked to pupils about its ‘Cycle Campaign’ urging people to only flush the 3Ps. Pupils then created posters for the competition which were judged by a number of people including local politicians and activists.

Scott Fraser, communities manager at Scottish Water, said: “We were really impressed so many youngsters in Midlothian felt so inspired by our 3Ps message and created some wonderful poster designs. They were fantastic. And the fact they all highlight such an important message makes them all winners in our eyes. Ruby’s colourful artwork pipped others to the post – it is an absolute gem. The eye-catching design is sure to be hit when people see it on the billboard.

“The children we spoke to were so interested to learn about the environment and how vital water it is in their everyday life and how we all need to do our bit to look after this precious resource and prevent blockages and pollution.”