Schoolgirl’s joy at winning mascot competition

Gracie Davies with her art teacher Mrs Louise Hughes
Gracie Davies with her art teacher Mrs Louise Hughes

A Wigan schoolgirl was “absolutely made up” after winning a shopping centre’s Design A Mascot competition.

Gracie Davies’s creative effort, Freddy the Cat, was chosen to become the Grand Arcade’s new mascot as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations in March.

Clarks manager Sandra Nolan,  Diana Rimmer, sales manager at Debenhams, Wigan Evening Post editor Janet Wilson and Grand Arcade boss John Sanson with the winning entry

Clarks manager Sandra Nolan, Diana Rimmer, sales manager at Debenhams, Wigan Evening Post editor Janet Wilson and Grand Arcade boss John Sanson with the winning entry

The 10-year-old’s winning design will now be turned into a real, larger than life character, which is sure to go down well with shoppers.

The eye catching design sports a polka-dot shirt, striped shorts and a party hat.

Freddy the Cat will be the host of future Grand Arcade events and will also be the face of the centre’s brand new Kids Club.

The St Wilfrid’s Primary Academy pupil said: “I am very happy that I have won this competition because it is the first time I have entered and won anything!

“I am very excited that my mascot was picked to represent the Grand Arcade.”

Young shoppers were asked to get creative and design a character, adding personality traits to their ideas. The competition ran from January 9 to 27 in association with the Wigan Evening Post.

Editor Janet Wilson, who was one of the judges, said: “The standard of entries was exceptionally high and we had a tough task choosing the winner.

“But we unanimously decided that Gracie’s entry would make the best mascot for the Grand Arcade’s tenth anniversary celebrations. We can’t wait to see the finished Freddy the Cat.”

A spokesman from Grand Arcade said: “Grand Arcade is exceptionally pleased with the outstanding amount of entries the competition received.

“The judges carefully deliberated the designs and finally chose Gracie as the winner. We are extremely excited to see her mascot come to life and be a part of our tenth birthday celebrations this March.

“I would like to thank everyone who got involved.”

The runner up was Rosie Rabbit, designed by Ruby Bennett, age nine, from Beech Hill Community Primary. Third place went to Activity Abigail, designed by Abigail Bingham, age eight, from Billinge Chapel End Primary.

The judges gave special commendation to Michael Wadeson, age six from St Oswalds Catholic Primary School. Michael’s design was entitled ‘Casitz’ which is a mix of Casino and Ritz.

After researching the history of Grand Arcade being built on the former Wigan Casino, he then incorporated elements of Wigan life into his mascot entry, providing his entry as a detailed project submission for the judges, with plenty of effort clearly going into his work.

Several high-profile events are planned for the Grand Arcade’s 10th birthday celebrations.

For more info, visit grand-arcade.co.uk