Gas safety poem wins girl a trip to House of Commons

School competition for CO poster / poem. Pic shows Barry Sheerman MP with Eleanor Grattoni-May, 8.
School competition for CO poster / poem. Pic shows Barry Sheerman MP with Eleanor Grattoni-May, 8.
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A Harrogate school pupil helped deliver a vital gas safety message to the House of Commons last week, as part of a competition organised by distributor Northern Gas Networks.

Eight-year-old Eleanor Grattoni-May of Ashville College Junior and Kylie Lunga, 10, of Hull, were chosen as NGN’s winners of the Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness competition, held by the UK gas distribution networks earlier this year in partnership with national charity CO-Gas Safety.

CO, also known as the ‘silent killer’, is a toxic gas which cannot be seen, smelled, heard or tasted, making it difficult to detect.

It is produced by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels and can be emitted by faulty boilers or gas appliances. Symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath, with around 50 UK deaths recorded every year.

NGN’s competition asked primary school age children across the North East, northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire to bring their understanding of CO safety messages to life through a form of media: be it a poster, newspaper report, video or poem.

Eleanor’s clever poem about the ‘Invisible Monster’ stood out from the crowd.

As winners for the North the girls collected a trophy plus £150 for themselves and £250 for their school.

The pair then joined other regional winners at the House of Commons.

There, as part of the parliamentary launch of Gas Safety Week, they met Huddersfield MP and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group Barry Sheerman, and Dominic Rodgers Trust founder Stacey Rodgers, whose son Dominic died from CO poisoning in 2004.

NGN’s Head of Social Strategy Tom Bell said: “I am delighted that during the launch of Gas Safety Week, we are able to announce the two winners of our Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness competition.

“I was really pleased that we had so many high quality entries, using a range of media to raise awareness of the causes, risks and avoidance of harm from CO, its symptoms being very similar to a heavy cold or flu.

“Kylie and Eleanor really captured key information about the importance of having a CO alarm, and calling the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 11 999 if symptoms of CO are suspected.

“The competition has been a huge success, and in partnership with national charity CO-Gas Safe, we look forward to running it once again later this year.”

Anyone who smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.