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Elliot Bowen-Churchill with his winning design

Wales & West Utilities is thrilled that a Bristol pupil is leading the way in gas safety after being crowned both a national and regional winner for his creative entry in a national gas safety competition.

Elliot Bowen-Churchill, age 11 attends Hillcrest Primary School,won both elements of the Key Stage 2 ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition and was inspired to enter after Wales & West Utilities gas safety ambassadors visited the school to help drive home the simple steps people can take to stay safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide – known as the ‘Silent Killer’.

Elliot produced an informative leaflet to warn others of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the signs to look out for, whilst highlighting the national gas emergency number – 0800 111 999.

 The gas emergency and pipeline service also celebrated two other wins in its operating area after Cardiff’s Tsering Nyikotsang and Harleigh Williams, both age 6, won the Key Stage 1 Wales entry whilst Pontypridd’s Megan Hole, age 10 who attends Hafod Primary School in Rhondda Cynon Taf, won the Key Stage 2 Wales entry of the competition

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.

Elliot was delighted to win and said:

I really enjoyed taking part in the competition and wanted to put my knowledge of carbon monoxide and its dangers into a creative leaflet to help other people.

I’m thrilled to be named both a regional and national winner!


     Elliot Bowen-Churchill celebrates his win with Wales & West Utilities’ Ivan Chilton and Elle Brooks

Head teacher at Hillcrest Primary School, Ms Bridget Norman, said:

We are all so proud of Elliott. This award is a recognition of his personal commitment to raising awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as a reflection of just how engaged our children are with global issues such as this.

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

Elliot’s leaflet is full of information and is presented in a fantastic way that is eye-catching. He impressed the judges and is a worthy winner – well done!

All of our winners have done a fantastic job. Their entries capture the imagination and drive home the vital gas safety messages to their friends and loved ones. Well done to everyone who entered.

Carbon monoxide (CO), known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.

To stay safe, people are urged to:

  • Make sure that gas appliances are serviced annually: that includes gas boilers, gas cookers and gas water heaters.
  • Know the signs of carbon monoxide: Look out for your gas appliances burning a floppy yellow or orange, not crisp and blue; pilot lights on boilers frequently blowing out; extra condensation inside your window; soot or yellow stains around appliances.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: similar to the flu or food poisoning without a high temperature.
  • Get an audible carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a gas appliance and test it regularly.
  • If your alarm sounds, or you suspect carbon monoxide, take action: move outside into fresh air, leaving doors and windows open as you go. Then call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. In a medical emergency, don't delay, call 999 immediately.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.