25th Young Cartoonist of the Year winners announced

The Cartoon Museum and British Cartoonists’ Association have announced Fergus Boylan and Daniel Meikle as the winners of the 25th Young Cartoonist of the Year competition.

Cartoon by Fergus Boylan

Fergus Boylan, age 29, from Antrim, won in the Under 30s category and Daniel Meikle, from Banbury, won in the Under 18s.

Each of the winners receives £250 prize money and a certificate.

Over 150 entries were received from all over the UK, with winners decided by a panel of judges comprised of luminaries of British newspaper and comic cartooning.

The 2020 awards were judged by a panel that included Martin Rowson (BCA Chairman and The Guardian cartoonist), Christian Adams (The Evening Standard), Banx (The Financial Times), Ella Barron (2017 Under 30 category winner), Steve Bell (The Guardian), Hannah Berry (Comics Laureate), Peter Brookes (The Times), Dave Brown (The Independent), Grizelda (The Spectator), Matt (The Daily Telegraph), Nick Newman (Private Eye), Woodrow Phoenix (She Lives), Paul Thomas (The Daily Mail) and Oliver Preston, Chairman of The Cartoon Museum.

The judges called Fergus Boylan’s cartoon at the expense of the former No. 10 advisor Dominic Cummings “another excellent piece of visual slapstick”.

“The works – and the visual representation of Dominic Cummings’ defining malevolent nerdiness, is so accurate it could be a photo,” notes Martin Rowson.

Under 18 winner Daniel Miekle , who won in his category with his “Nice Hat” cartoon began honing his craft as a 10-year-old, when he accepted a challenge from a family friend to draw a cartoon every day, rising early to draw before school.

Cartoon by Daniel Meikle

“I like the enjoyment my cartoons give to people,” he told The Guardian. “It makes me happy, and it’s a bit like writing – you can really tell a story.”

Due to social distancing the certificates will be presented to the winners at a later date, with a hope to display the works of the winners and runners-up either at The Cartoon Museum when it re-opens in 2021, or online on the museum website.

The Young Cartoonist of the Year competition was originally set up as the ‘Mel Calman Young Cartoonist Competition’, in memory of the great Times cartoonist and Cartoon Art Trust founder. In 2001, the competition morphed into its current form, led by Martin Rowson who recruited judges from each national newspaper, leading to wide publicity for the competition, with free adverts run by many papers, including The Guardian and The Times, who ran adverts for the 2020 competition.

The competition, now in its 25th year, has produced winners including Nick Edwards (2009) who went on to win an Emmy for his work on “Uncle Grandpa” in the US, New Yorker cartoonist Will McPhail, and political cartoonist Matt Buck.

This year’s awards were funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of a £98,700 grant to support the museum in combatting the severe financial threat resulting from the museum’s closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund, where £50million has been made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

“In this foulest of years, about the only group of people to have prospered are Jeff Bezos, takeaways and cartoonists – in each case because nothing has changed,” commented Martin Rowson. “With us cartoonists, we’re still stuck indoors on our own staring out of the window, until magically we succeed in teasing a laugh out of the worst things imaginable.

“For the last 25 years, it’s been an honour for the British Cartoonists’ Association to conspire at the corruption of the young by encouraging thousands of them to do the same, through the Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition. Even if the last thing any of us need is young, energetic competition.

“As I’ve been saying for years at the Cartoon Awards when the winners receive their prizes, really this is just a way of identifying the really good ones so we can break their talented tiny fingers to protect our jobs.”

“A huge congratulations to Daniel and Fergus,” said Joe Sullivan, Director of The Cartoon Museum, “and we are incredibly grateful that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has supported us through such a difficult year.

“Their support will safeguard the immediate future of the museum and go a long way to securing our long-term sustainability. We want to say a huge thank you to all Lottery players for their support.

“We also want to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund and all National Lottery players for their support of this year’s awards, helping to nurture and develop the skills of the cartoonists of tomorrow.”

“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing,” notes Ross Kerlake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund. “All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to initiatives such as the Young Cartoonist of the Year during this uncertain time.”

The British Cartoonists’ Association is an association of British Cartoonists. The BCA awards the annual Young Cartoonist of the Year Award which is presented at the annual Cartoon Art Trust Awards, hosted by the Cartoon Museum.

The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420,000 visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18,000 items.

The Cartoon Museum also runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50,000 children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.

Using money raised by the National Lottery, the National Lottery Heritage Fund inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive change for people and communities, now and in the future.

The Heritage Emergency Fund remains open for applications for grants ranging from £3000 to £250,000 until 31st July 2020. Extra advice and support and longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives has also been made available for the heritage sector.

• To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes visit read more about The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s response to the Covid-19 emergency: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response

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