Second win for Kirsty

2nd June 2006 at 01:00
Christmas shoppers this year will be able to select a book token designed by Kirsty Hill, a 13-year-old from Port Talbot with a passion for drawing, and the winner of a competition organised by National Book Tokens and the National Library for the Blind.

Kirsty's winning design was picked from several hundred entries by Oscar-winning Pixar animator Jan Pinkaver, and her prize presented at a London reception by children's author Michael Morpurgo. More than 100,000 book tokens will be printed with her design on their cover in the run-up to Christmas.

She drew with pens and pencils on a piece of paper 24cm by 8cm, on which she managed to fit, not only a little girl in Santa outfit and a Christmas tree, but books, presents and a holly wreath as well. What is remarkable is that Kirsty is registered blind; she has only one eye and because of microphthalmia (a condition were the eye doesn't develop normally) can only see the outlines of objects.

She also has disabilities associated with Fraser Syndrome, including restricted movement in her hands, on which the fingers were fused at birth and subsequently surgically separated, and on which she still has no oppositional thumbs.

Kirsty attends mainstream classes in Year 8 at Cefn Saeson comprehensive school in Neath, with two support assistants who work as her braillists. At nine she was a prizewinner in a Welsh competition for a picture related to the Queen's Jubilee; since then she has done a lot of drawing.

She draws with an emphasis on colour and shape, managing to add detail by working with her face almost touching the paper. She hopes to be an artist (or a musician: she also plays the piano) in future.

"I like drawing people and animals and sunsets and beaches and that sort of thing," she says: "I wanted to use bright colours for the Christmas picture, to attract attention."

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