Simon Marriott, Headteacher at St Martin’s Church of England Primary School, Morgan’s teacher Mrs Janet Lawton, competition winner Morgan Hughes and his father, Nathan Hughes who works for Wales & West Utilities

Ten-year-old Morgan Hughes has scooped the top prize in a national gas safety competition for his well-written rap which warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the signs to look out for.

Morgan, who attends St Martin’s Church of England Primary School in Weston-super-Mare, initially won the Key Stage 2 English entry of the ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition but was crowned overall national winner at an event at the House of Commons, beating off thousands of entries from across the UK.

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

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.

At the House of Commons event Morgan collected a trophy along with a £450 cash prize for himself and £900 for his school.

Morgan, whose father Nathan works as a First Call Operative for Wales & West Utilities, said:

“When I heard about the challenge I knew that I wanted to produce something that was fun and interesting. Sitting down with my dad we discussed all the dangers of carbon monoxide and the signs to look out for. To make my entry interesting for people my age I decided to write my own rap to a well-known tune!

“It was amazing but when I found out that I’d been named national winner, I couldn’t believe it! I now hope that my entry will give other people the information on the dangers of CO and what to do if they suspect it.”

Simon Marriott, Headteacher at St Martin’s Church of England Primary School, said:

“We are all really proud of Morgan for his hard work in entering and winning this competition. Morgan’s entry explained a very serious subject in an easy to understand and entertaining rap. He used IT to make the information accessible and memorable.”

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:

“Morgan’s entry captured the attention of all judges and he 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.”