Huge increase of entries for society’s annual art contest

Laura Walsh (Woodlands Meed College) SUS-160701-163440001
Laura Walsh (Woodlands Meed College) SUS-160701-163440001

Since 2003 Mid-Sussex MENCAP has organised an annual Art Competition which has now seen its 12th year.

It is known as the ‘Mary Wheeler Art Competition’ and it marks the life and interests of the Society’s one-time President and Chairwoman Mary Wheeler MBE.

Chloe Charlton (Woodlands Mead College) SUS-160701-163429001

Chloe Charlton (Woodlands Mead College) SUS-160701-163429001

Mary had a great love of art, poetry and sculpture. In the 1950s she founded National MENCAP along with other parents of children with a learning disability and she formed the British Women Racing Drivers Club in 1962.

When Mary passed away, Mid-Sussex MENCAP instigated this art competition to mark her life.

Last year’s categories were ‘Things That Fly’, ‘My Favourite Food’ and ‘A Visit to the Zoo’ and this year there were 170 entries in a number of different formats.

This number was a huge increase over previous years. These entries came from 34 Centres across West and East Sussex.

The entries were judged by Ross Thomson, a cartoonist and illustrator with an international reputation whose work has appeared in a number of magazines and advertisements including animated commercials. Prize-winners each receive a certificate, a personalised shield with their name and award on it and a cash prize. In addition, the artist who created the best artwork in the competition is given the Mary Wheeler Trophy, suitably inscribed with their name, to keep for one year.

The prize-giving ceremony was held at Clair Hall on November 24 where winners were presented with their prizes. All the winning artwork was on display along with selected artwork from each of the centres. Local winners included Mathew Peek (who was awarded the Mary Wheeler Trophy this year), Chloe Charlton and Laura Walsh, all from Woodlands Meed College. The photos in this article are of Chloe and Laura receiving their prizes from Ross Thomson.

All the winning entries from 2015 and 2014 can be seen on the Mid-Sussex MENCAP web site (

Report and pictures contributed by Mid-Sussex MENCAP.