Selkirk youngsters are Fairtrade fabulous

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young winners of Selkirk High School’s Fairtrade T-shirt competition were celebrating after being invited to the Scottish Parliament by John Lamont MSP and congratulated on their achievements, writes Sandy Neil.

The contest was part of a rolling campaign of events by Selkirk Fairtrade.

The group, run by volunteers, works with local businesses, schools, churches and community organisations to promote the cause. It found out it had also been successful in helping Selkirk achieve Fairtrade town status, joining 61 others in Scotland which have “made a commitment to supporting Fairtrade and using products with the Fairtrade mark.

And as part of a series of events organised to highlight Fairtrade Fortnight – which runs from February 27 to March 11 – the group has organised a fashion show in the town’s high school next Friday where the Conservative MSP will be modelling the prize-winning T-shirt, designed by S2 pupil at the school, Harry Murphy.

Mr Lamont said: “I was pleased to be able to congratulate the winner and runners-up of the Selkirk High School Fairtrade T-Shirt competition in person at the Scottish Parliament. I know that there were many high-quality entries and the winning design is a deserved victor.

“It was a very worthwhile competition and alongside the planned fashion show at the school is part of a fantastic campaign to help raise awareness of the issue of Fairtrade. The work carried out by the Selkirk Fairtrade group has engaged many parts of the local community in doing what they can to help the cause.

“It was therefore fantastic news when they heard that their hard work and effort had been rewarded with Selkirk being given Fairtrade status. This is a huge achievement and will help show that Selkirk and its residents are in full support of providing a fair deal to producers in developing countries.

“I was delighted to purchase my own version of the winning Fairtrade T-shirt,” he added, “and I would encourage anyone else who wants to support this great cause to buy one as well.

“The fashion show at Selkirk High School would also be a great way to raise some money towards the group.”

Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, marked the start of Fairtrade Fortnight on Monday by also meeting the winners and runners-up of the school’s Fairtrade T-shirt and poster design competitions.

She said: “The Scottish Government is committed to raising awareness and promoting the fair trade agenda throughout Scotland and I am confident that later this year Scotland will become a Fair Trade Nation.

“I’d like to congratulate the pupils from Selkirk High School, staff and volunteers at Selkirk Fairtrade who have shown leadership in supporting fair trade and promoting it within their local community, showing that everyone can play a crucial role in reducing poverty.”

During Fairtrade Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation says it will be “challenging the public to take a step in the right direction by thinking about what they can do every day, every week or every month throughout 2012 to make a difference to the lives of farmers in the developing world who produce the products they buy – whether that be choosing to buy a Fairtrade coffee on the way to work, or making sure their weekly shopping baskets contain one or two more Fairtrade products, such as Fairtrade tea or bananas, or encouraging their friends and family to switch to Fairtrade”.  

If you want to support Fairtrade Fortnight, and you live or work in Selkirk, there are a number of ways you can do so.

Take a good look at the Take a Step posters, designed by local primary school pupils, and displayed in shops, and in Rowlands window.

Buy some Fairtrade sweets from the stalls held in each of the churches, as well as at Eildon Housing and The Bield.

Get a ticket for the Wear Fair and Local Fashion Show at the High School next Friday at 7pm and come and see the range of Fairtrade cotton clothing available. Tickets are available from Scott’s Selkirk Shop, priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for young people still at school.

You could even take a step sitting down by visiting the Selkirk Fairtrade website at http://selkirkfairtrade.”