Two Yorkshire school students helped deliver a vital gas safety message to the House of Commons last week, as part of a competition organised by Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributer for the north of England.
Ten-year-old Kylie Lunga of Biggin Hill Primary School in Hull, and eight-year-old Eleanor Grattoni-May of Ashville College Junior School in Harrogate were chosen as NGN’s winners of the Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness competition, held by the UK gas distribution networks earlier this year in partnership with national charity CO-Gas Safety.
CO, also known as the ‘silent killer’, is a toxic gas which cannot be seen, smelled, heard or tasted, making it difficult to detect. CO is produced by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels and can be emitted by faulty boilers or gas appliances. Symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath, with around 50 UK deaths recorded every year.
NGN’s competition asked primary school age children across the North East, northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire to bring their understanding of CO safety messages to life through a form of media: be it a poster, newspaper report, video or poem.
The entries could be submitted as a group or individually, and Kylie’s mock newspaper article on the effects of CO poisoning and the importance of CO alarms impressed NGN’s judges, while Eleanor’s clever poem about the ‘Invisible Monster’ stood out from the crowd.
Named as winners for the North, both girls collected a trophy plus prizes of £150 for themselves and £250 for their school.
As part of the parliamentary launch of Gas Safety Week on September 13, the pair then joined other regional winners at the House of Commons to meet Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, the Co Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, and Stacey Rodgers, mother of CO victim Dominic Rodgers and founder of the Dominic Rodgers Trust.
NGN’s Head of Social Strategy Tom Bell said: “I am delighted that during the launch of Gas Safety Week, which runs from September 19-25, we are able to announce the two winners of our Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness competition.
“I was really pleased that we had so many high quality entries, using a range of media to raise awareness of the causes, risks and avoidance of harm from CO, its symptoms being very similar to a heavy cold or ‘flu.
“Kylie and Eleanor really captured key information about the importance of having a CO alarm, and calling the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 11 999 if symptoms of CO are suspected.
“The competition has been a huge success, and in partnership with national charity CO-Gas Safe, we look forward to running it once again later this year.”
This year’s Gas Safety Week runs from Monday 19 September -Sunday 25 September.
Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.