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Winner Rocca Holmes with Graham Curnow, local Wales & West Utilities Operational Manager

Caen Community Primary School pupil Rocca Holmes has scooped a top regional prize in a national safety competition beating off more than a thousand entrants from across the UK.

Rocca, 10 who attends Braunton’s Caen Community Primary School, won the Key Stage 2 South West of England entry of the ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition which invited school-age children to produce something creative to warn of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. She picked up a prize of £150 cash for herself and £300 for her school at an event at the House of Commons.

The ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition is run nationally by industry body, Energy Networks Association, and supported locally by gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities.

The safety competition, which was launched at the beginning of the school year by TV and CBeebies presenter Rebecca Keatley, invited children aged 5 to 11 to produce an eye-catching poster, poem or entry in another medium which was both informative and accurate and raised awareness of the dangers of CO poisoning and how to avoid them. The competition is supported by all UK gas networks including Wales & West Utilities.

Teacher at Caen Community Primary School, Gwawr Darling, said:

“As a class we enjoyed taking part in the competition. Not only did we learn about the serious dangers carbon monoxide presents and the steps to take to eliminate them, but pupils were able to put their creativity to great use.

“Rocca’s poster entry was fantastic and we are all very proud of her in winning such an accolade. Going to the House of Commons was a great experience and it was wonderful to celebrate Rocca and all the other regional winners.”

Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon, met Rocca as she received her award at a special ceremony at the Houses of Parliament. He said:

“From everyone in my constituency, I want to say well done to Rocca.  Her poster is really eye-catching.  She has done a great job in highlighting the dangers of carbon monoxide in a simple way.  It was great to meet Rocca and her family in Westminster and congratulate her personally on this great achievement.”

Known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, accidental – and therefore preventable - CO poisoning is responsible for around 40 deaths, 200 hospitalisations each year. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of CO poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are often confused with flu, especially in winter, as they include severe headaches, a sore throat, dizziness, coughing, feeling sick, and a general lack of energy.

Wales & West Utilities Head of Emergency Service, Clive Book, said:

“Rocca has done a grand job with her entry to the competition and should feel incredibly proud.

“The competition was a huge success this year and we hope that everyone taking part has been able to help spread the vital gas safety messages to their friends and loved ones.”

This summer Wales & West Utilities want your views on the future of your gas network and the services they provide. Go to PipeUpOnline.co.uk to let them know what you think today and be in with a chance to win a £100 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.