Brighton schoolgirl pulls off masterstroke
National Express driver Sarah-Louise Mulroe with Gabby Smoliakova and her winning design
A Brighton schoolgirl has pulled off a masterstroke by winning a national drawing competition hosted by one of the biggest names in transport.
15-year-old Gabby Smoliakova has seen her drawing of her ideal holiday turned into a show-stopping one-off livery on the side of a National Express airport coach after she was selected as a ‘Colour the Coach’ winner.
As an added bonus, National Express also brought the coach bearing her design to Portslade Aldridge Community Academy where Gabby studies - for the whole school to admire.
The picture is now on display for thousands of people to see as the coach bearing it rolls along the motorways of South East England.
Gabby’s entry was chosen by professional artist Richard Berner who judged competition entries from the South of England.
Richard’s work ranges from children’s book illustrations to intricate and surreal paintings, taking his inspiration from the people and places of Brighton.
The 30-year-old artist picked Gabby’s picture out of hundreds of others after he spotted the eye-catching design of the earth, the sun and the sea and an aeroplane and decided it was the best.
As part of the competition, children aged 5-15 from all over the country were asked to unleash their imaginations and draw a picture of their ideal holiday.
After being judged by local artists, the winning designs from each region have been turned into special one-off liveries featured on National Express’ coaches and each winner was handed a £50 cheque.
Gabby, who lives with her family in Portslade, was delighted after hearing she had won.
She said: “I’m so excited that my picture won and that my schoolmates got to see my design on the coach. I love drawing and I love holidays - so this competition was perfect for me!”
Richard said: “Gabby entered a lovely around the world adventure idea; her picture had really good colouring and a superb overall composition which is why I picked it out of all the other excellent entries from Brighton.”
National Express UK Coach Managing Director Tom Stables said: “We had a fantastic array of entries from children in Brighton and Gabby’s design was particularly brilliant. It’s really great to see how children are inspired by their holidays and use that inspiration to show off their artistic talent.”
National Express is offering hundreds of thousands of fares from just £6 this Autumn, for more information or to book visit www.nationalexpress.com
A hi-res photograph of Gabby with local Brighton Artist Richard Berner is available to download here.