CREATIVE youngsters have been recognised for their efforts in combating litter monsters in the county town.

Nearly 100 schoolchildren from Dorchester and the surrounding area entered a poster competition organised by the Dorchester Stop the Drop anti litter group and Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset.

After judges spent hours poring over the glut of entries, the winning children received their prizes from Dorchester Mayor Stella Jones at an awards ceremony at the town’s Corn Exchange.

Eco schools support officer Alison Jay said it had been great the way the competition had engaged local children.

She said: “What we have noticed is becoming aware of litter and trying to take action to tackle litter in the local environment is one of the first ways children demonstrate environmental awareness.”

The overall winner of the competition was Mia Briant, nine, from the Prince of Wales School.

Runner-up was Freya Humphreys, nine, from St Mary’s First School in Charminster and fellow pupil Mathilde Burdett, five, won the age five to seven category while Kate Ferguson, seven, from the Winterbourne Valley First School, was highly commended.

All the children received a goody bag of prizes as well as a letter of commendation from Dorchester Town Council and a cheque for £50 for eco-friendly projects at their school.

The top three entries will see their posters professionally printed by local firm Epic Creative Print while all of the entries will be displayed on the big screen at Dorchester’s Brewery Square for a week until March 12.

Bob Kerr from Dorchester Stop the Drop thanked all those who had supported the event including Dorchester Town Council, West Dorset District Council, the Dorset Waste Partnership, Dorset County Council, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Dorchester BID (Business Improvement District).

As she presented the awards, Councillor Jones told the winners: “I think it’s wonderful that you have done all these lovely posters.

“Dorchester is a very pretty town and we have lots of people coming to visit.

“I know it’s not you little children dropping litter but it’s older children and adults as well.

“I think putting your posters around the town will help to remind them that there are litter bins and they are there to be used.”

The event also saw Felicity McLaren from Dorchester Stop the Drop receive a special medal from the CPRE for her efforts on behalf of the group.