Lucy Norris from Ware in Hertfordshire beat more than 1,000 entries in the annual competition run by the magazine, which is sold by vendors to help lift themselves out of poverty.
Lucy said, ‘I feel gobsmacked, amazed and very happy. When Mum told me the theme was “welcome”, I thought about the message welcome home. I wasn’t sure how to make it Christmassy, so I looked through old Christmas cards and saw the front door with a wreath hanging on it.
‘I’d like to put across the message that nobody should be homeless, but especially not at Christmas time, which is meant to be a happy time. That’s why I crossed out the ‘less’ – because everyone should be able to feel like they have a home.’
She said it had taken her two days to finish the drawing , and that she ‘loved drawing’ and likes ‘to draw landscapes best’.
Lucy’s mum Emma added that the family were all surprised at Lucy's win but very pleased and proud.
‘Lucy hadn’t entered the Big Issue competition before, but she spotted it in the magazine I was reading. She doesn’t need any encouragement to draw! Especially if it delays having to do her maths homework!’
Emma thanked her local vendor for prompting her to encourage Lucy to enter. ‘Maria who sells outside Tesco in Ware reminded me about it because she knows I have two girls, one who loves to draw!’
Competition judges this year were Big Issue UK editor Paul McNamee, Anna Bassi, editor of The Week Junior magazine, and children’s author Cressida Cowell.
Mr McNamee said, ‘There was a simple brief this year. We asked that entries touched on the theme of Welcome, wherever that took the entries. And it brought us right to the door of nine-year-old Lucy Ware. A bright door that offers simple relief – where the homeless are welcome; where the homeless become homed. It’s an idea that makes the heart sing.’
Ms Cowell said of the winning entry, ‘I love the big pink door, by Lucy Norris, because it's bright and festive and the Homeless with the Less crossed out is a lovely neat graphic illustration of an idea.’
Mr McNamee added, ‘Each of the 1,100 plus entries from right across Britain has been lovingly crafted, with felt tips and glitter and pencils and bits of felt and boundless, unquenchable imagination and enthusiasm. Increasingly we find that letters arrive from teachers and youth leaders explaining how the creation became a class activity that sparked debate about the realities of Christmas for people who go without.’
- The festive edition of the Big Issue with Lucy’s cover is now on sale across the UK for £3.