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Seven-year-old Livie Yelland has scooped a top regional prize in a national gas safety competition for her eye-catching poster which warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the signs to look out for.

Livie, who attends Pinhoe Primary School, won the Key Stage 1 South West of England entry of the ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition picking up a prize of £150 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 is supported locally by gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities. Each year it invites school-age children to produce something creative to warn of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

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. This year saw more than 600 entries to Wales & West Utilities regional activity and competition for one of the coveted prizes was fierce!

Year 2 Teacher at Pinhoe Primary School, Victoria Ibbeson, said:

“We entered the competition after Wales & West Utilities delivered a gas safety session to pupils.

“With the gas safety messages so well received by pupils they really enjoyed putting their learning to good use. The competition was a fantastic exercise for us all and we learnt a lot about the serious dangers carbon monoxide presents and the steps to take to eliminate them.

“Livie’s poster entry was fantastic, and we are all very proud of her. Livie enjoyed going to the House of Commons and it was wonderful to celebrate all of the competition winners.”

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: 

“Livie’s entry captured the attention of all judges and she has done a fantastic job in bringing to life a very serious issue.

“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.”

Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, added:

“I was very impressed to hear about Livie’s poster and congratulate her on her excellent work. Learning about gas safety is vital and I hope that this competition has helped make people aware of the dangers, and how to detect and prevent them.”