Julie Walters delights students at Christmas card prize-giving

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There were smiles all round when Dame Julie Walters dropped in at Collyer's Sixth Form College this week.

The Paddington star was at the Horsham school to hand out prizes to the winners of the annual Samaritans Christmas Card Competition.
She happily posed for photos with students, including the winners, Katie Grant and Henry Berrisford.
Katie's card, called The Robin, and Henry's - Tiny Santa in the Snow - can be bought from Horsham Museum and the Collyer’s Library.
Julie, who is Patron of the Horsham & Crawley Samaritans, said: “Congratulations to Henry and Katie. It is thrilling to be back at Collyer’s and hosting this event in the heart of the art room where all this creativity began.”
The students started work on their designs at the end of the summer term, when teachers helped to build a festive feeling by decorating the art studios with tinsel, playing Christmas music and using fans to drop the temperature to something more wintry.
Susie McAlister, subject leader for art and design, said: "It certainly takes a lot of imagination to get excited about Christmas in July, but this is all part of teaching students how a professional brief works.
“Our young artists are passionate about raising money for the Samaritans and do feel responsible for making sure the public like the cards and thus raise as much money as possible for this incredible charity.”
The competition attracted more than 100 entries, which were all on display.
One of the judges was artist John Connolly, who was impressed with the students' work. He said: "Being able to develop a mind-set that allowed them to capture the spirit both of the season and of the Samaritans was remarkable.”
As well as presenting the prizes, Julie took time to chat with the students and quickly became the focal point for many a selfie.
Ian McAlister, Collyer’s senior tutor and art teacher, said: “It is good for our students to be involved in making a contribution to the community as a whole; they are such supportive and immensely positive young adults and this is just one of the ways they are making a difference in the world around them.
"Our students recognised in Julie a truly kindred spirit and many of their phones now have Julie Walter’s selfies as screen savers!”
Principal Sally Bromley said: “The Samaritans charity is really close to our hearts and we are privileged to have such a close relationship with them.
"Big thanks to Julie for coming to visit us today to present the awards to Henry and Katie for their fantastic Christmas card designs.
"Everyone should go and buy some!”

Dame Julie Walters with some of the Collyer's students. Picture: Ian McAlister

Dame Julie Walters with some of the Collyer's students. Picture: Ian McAlister