An Eastbourne schoolgirl’s imaginative portrayal of a spider recreating its own web, caught the attention of judges in a prestigious national art competition.

Sofiia Smorgun’s winning artwork was inspired when she saw a spider’s web glistening in the sunshine after a rain shower, and which she then illustrated with sparkly paint dots over the spider’s web.

Sofiia, a pupil at Bedes school in Eastbourne, was aged ten when she submitted the entry in the national competition organised by Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland. Runner up in the Junior category – for children aged up to ten years – was another Bede’s pupil, nine-year-old Livvy Giffard

This was the first part of three phases leading up to a national competition run by RIBI. The subject topic of the competition was “Rebuilding”. Within this topic, the invigilators looked for “inspiration, ingenuity and creativity”.

The competition’s first phase was organised by the Rotary Club of Eastbourne and sponsored by the Eastbourne Arts Society, which also judged the entries.

Sofiia’s stunning, winning entry was submitted into the second phase of the competition, encompassing rotary clubs from across the south-east Rotary1120 District. Again, it was the judges’ favourite against entries from across Kent and East Sussex, Southeast London – and even Gibraltar.

“To be declared a winner in this phase of the competition already reflects a high standard,” said Alan Langley, president of the Rotary Club of Eastbourne. Although her entry was, sadly, not the national winner, Sofiia’s much-acclaimed art was the first ever from Eastbourne to have achieved this level of acclaim.

“Huge congratulations to both Livvy and Sofiia for participating in the competition, and to Bede’s Prep School’s Head of Art, Rachel Armitage, for encouraging the potential and creativity of these young artists, “said Rotarian Langley.

The rotary club will repeat the competition again next year, under the topic “Wonderful Water”, with an entry closing date of mid-January 2025.

Alan Langley, rotary club president, is pictured with Bede’s Head, Leigh-Ann Morris, and prize-winning pupils Sofiia (left) and Livvy.