Scarborough youngster hooks top prize

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A fin-omenally talented Gladstone Road Junior School pupil has won a trip to the seaside and a fish and chip lunch for his whole class – by designing a fishy friend for Quayside of Whitby’s mascot Finella.

Nine-year-old Joshua Burt’s winning creation – Fishfred, the “butler fish”, which comes complete with a fishtail suit and tray of cocktails – has been chosen as Finella’s cod companion, to help her spread the word about sustainable fishing.

Joshua’s winning design will mean his whole class take a trip to Quayside to learn more about where fish and chips comes from and how they’re made, followed by a slap-up fish supper.

The judges, which included Quayside staff, The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF), SEAFISH and Anne Hornigold from The Whitby and District Fishing Industry Training School, said Joshua’s design was “a very classy gentleman perfect for Finella”!

The champion chippy received more than 200 entries for the competition, which challenged children to design a helpful friend for its mascot as part of its Fusco Foundation schools initiative – and the judges had to whittle these down to just 12 finalists.

Other aquatic acquaintances devised by school children across Yorkshire included a “brilliant” brightly coloured “Sophie Seahorse” created by fellow classmate Tilia Grant, aged nine – which scooped second place – and a “handsome” Willy the Whale, designed by Lola from Year 3 at Stakesby Community Primary School, which came third; as well as a whole host of other creatures including octopuses, mermaids, hermit crabs and lobsters.

Nine-year-old Maisy Dent, in Year 4 at Stakesby Community Primary School, was one of a small few who came up with a non-fishy friend for Finella, designing a golden chip called Max as her pal, and coming fourth in the competition.

Jo Varley, editor of the Fish Friers Review, the monthly trade magazine for the NFFF, said their pairing “could be the wedding of the year”!

Stuart Fusco, Quayside director and head chef, said they’d been overwhelmed with the amount of entries. “We were staggered by the effort that the children went to and their characters were well drawn, colourful and had clever names. However, for us, Joshua’s design was the best idea – and it’s lovely to think Finella will now have a helping fin!”

Heather Middleton, marketing manager for Seafish’s ‘Fish is the Dish’ campaign added: “It was a very close contest and the creativity from students was very high. We were delighted that local children were asked to find a friend for Finella, and it proved to be a very popular competition.”