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Shoebox Express’ Design Wizard

Shoebox Express’ Design Wizard Tim Waters didn’t realise that the greetings card he had drawn for his Christmas 2016 shoebox would be the inspiration for Shoebox Express’ 2017 poster. Thomas Kenningley, Chairman of Shoebox Express, explains “We visited Trinity St. Peter’s school last October and many of the pupils had drawn greeting cards to put in their Christmas shoeboxes. The toys, games, sweets, school stationery, toiletries and clothing that go in the boxes are important for the physical and mental well-being of a child in poverty, but a greetings-card adds a real personal-touch to the scheme. When we discussed a poster design for this year’s project, our treasurer recalled one of the Trinity St. Peter’s designs and, after some detective work we were able to trace Tim.”

Tim remembers his visit to Shoebox Express. “We had been told there would be different tables set up and to bring about £5 to spend on filling a shoebox. It was all very organised: wrapped boxes; a station for toiletries; a station for toys; a station for stationery; clothing and sweets etc.”

Tim is very modest about his artistic abilities. Now at Formby High School, he has design classes and is currently working on a key ring to be fabricated from acrylic. Tim said, “My idea for the greeting card was based on Santa’s workshop and the various processes of how the elves went to the woods, chopped down trees and took them to the workshop to make into toys for Christmas.” Tim’s design also showed the processes involved in making, wrapping or packing the shoeboxes, with miniature hand-drawn elves and reindeer doing the tasks.

But pieces of the original design are missing from the finished poster. “There was a wooden house in the snow, where Santa lived, with a secret entrance by ladder to the elves’ workshop. The poster is a bit different from what I expected, but I do like how the station names have been changed to show all the things you can put in the boxes, with different railway lines for the different types of gift.”

“We have had fantastic feedback about the poster. People have described it as ‘brilliant’ and ‘amazing’”, says Thomas. “Shoebox Express has been running for over 10 years and its logo is a train, but it’s only thanks to Tim that we can now show what we do as an easy-to-understand railway network diagram. The design is central to our publicity for Shoebox Express events this year and we are so grateful to him.”

Shoebox Express is running a poster design competition in the hope of discovering another inspired idea for its 2018 campaign posters. Open to all young people aged 18 and under, details can be found on the website and the deadline for entries is 31st October 2017. Tim has already given the design competition some thought, “I don’t think I will be entering the competition this year. I’d like to see what ideas other people have ……. and give one of them the chance of winning!”

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