South Ayrshire young artists spread message of peace, hope and love to Hiroshima

 05 March 2019  |  

Morven and Shaun's artworks will travel to Japan later this year

Morven and Shaun's artworks will travel to Japan later this year

Drawings created by two young South Ayrshire artists will travel 6,000 miles to Hiroshima in Japan later this year to spread a message of peace, hope and love.

The drawings – created by 14-year-old Marr College students Morven Easton and Shaun Morgan – were selected as the overall top two in a South Ayrshire schools art competition celebrating peaceful towns.

The competition, supported by South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie, was inspired by ginko tree 'peace seeds' donated to South Ayrshire by Mayors for Peace – an international organisation which brings together cities and places dedicated to the promotion of peace.

Mayors for Peace was created in Hiroshima in 1982 in response to the deaths of around 140,000 people following the atomic bombing of the city on 6 August 1945.

While the bombing reduced the city to ashes, trees that had been devastated by the bomb sprouted buds again from their burnt trunks, and became a symbol of hope and courage for the city and the country.

Seeds from the A-bombed trees have been donated to a number of countries and locations – including South Ayrshire – allowing the spirit, hope and courage that stemmed from Hiroshima at such a dreadful time to be spread across the world.

It was that message of peace that children and young people were asked to bring to life through the Peaceful Towns art competition.

Morven, Shaun and 16 other young artists selected as the top two in each Council ward will now become 'guardians' of the South Ayrshire peace trees, which are currently being looked after at Belleisle Conservatory. They will be moved and planted in local communities in the names of the winning artists once they are strong enough to be planted outdoors.

The full list of winning artists is:

  • Overall: 1st place  – Morven Easton, Marr College (14); 2nd place – Shaun Morgan, Marr College (14)

  • Ward 1 Troon: 1st place  – Poppy Nicolson, Marr College (15); 2nd place  – Beth McLachlan, Marr College (12)

  • Ward 2 Prestwick: 1st place  – Evie Siedlecki, Heathfield Primary (10); 2nd place – Liam Walters-Gardner, Heathfield Primary (10)

  • Ward 3 Ayr North: 1st place  – Dominik Jones, Braehead Primary (10); 2nd place – Kasey Galloway, Braehead Primary (10)

  • Ward 4 Ayr East: 1st place  – Kady Kadens, Forehill Primary (11); 2nd place – Mikey Gerrard, Forehill Primary (11)

  • Ward 5 Ayr West: 1st place – Maya Hawthorn, Doonfoot Primary (11); 2nd place – Grace Nugent, Doonfoot Primary (11)

  • Ward 6 Kyle: 1st place  – James McLaughlan, Monkton Primary (8); 2nd place – Laila Cobb, Monkton Primary (8)

  • Ward 7 Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton: 1st place  – Cadhla Carter, Straiton Primary (11); 2nd place – Renee Harrop, Carrick Academy (13)

  • Ward 8 Girvan and South Carrick: 1st place  – Ammie Sloan, Maidens Primary (10); 2nd place – Eva Lawrie, Maidens Primary (10).

The winners were presented with their peace tree sapling, a certificate and a goodie bag at a special ceremony at Belleisle Conservatory by Provost Moonie, local Councillors and Consul-General of Japan in Edinburgh, Mr Nozomu Takaoka.

In addition, Morven and Shaun's drawings will make the 6,000-mile journey to Hiroshima later this year, courtesy of Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, who performed at the presentation ceremony.

The Orchestra will be touring Japan in the summer and will have the honour of playing at the Children's Peace Memorial in the Hiroshima Peace Park – the first musicians to do so. The Orchestra has commissioned a special piece of music that will be played as a lament for the children of Hiroshima and what they suffered following the dropping of the A-bomb.

On behalf of the people of South Ayrshire, Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra will present Morven's drawing to the Mayor of Hiroshima, and Shaun's to the Secretariat of Mayors for Peace.

Provost Moonie said: "Our young people really took the peaceful towns theme to heart and my sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to take part in the competition. The entries were very impressive and I can assure you it wasn't at all easy to pick the winners.  

"I'm very proud that each of our winners now has one of the peace tree saplings named after them. These will be planted in their wards, a few years from now, when they are ready to leave the nurture and care of the Conservatory.      

"This will help create a long-lasting legacy of peace across South Ayrshire – in the names of the young artists – who will become the guardians of the trees. I hope they will grow into the peacemakers of tomorrow just as their trees will grow into strong symbols of peace.

"I'm also humbled that the two overall winning drawings will be taken to Hiroshima, taking that message of peace full circle. My thanks to our friends in the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra for agreeing to take on this task and I wish them all the very best for the tour.

"I have no doubt the performance in the Peace Park will be a breath-taking one by the children of Ayrshire for the children of Hiroshima. This will further strengthen our links with Japan and I'm delighted that Mr Takaoka could join us to share in the presentation ceremony and share in this celebration of peace, art, culture and friendship."

Nozomu Takaoka, Consul-General of Japan in Edinburgh, added: "It is a pleasure to see so many young people inspired by the principle of global peace to create such beautiful works of art.

"I am reassured that the next generation will strive for cooperation instead of conflict and that the planting of peace seeds from Hiroshima in South Ayrshire will leave a long-lasting legacy".

The 18 winning Peaceful Towns works of art will be displayed at Rozelle House Galleries during the Easter school holidays, allowing the message of peace to be shared with local people and visitors alike.

As part of the competition, each artist provided a message of peace to show what inspired their artwork:


  • 1st place  – Morven Easton: I thought of the peaceful effect that nature has to soften the buildings which symbolised structure and continuity. I thought of what had happened during the war and tried to make my work peaceful and calm, and with hope of a brighter future of peace and happiness.

  • 2nd place – Shaun Morgan: The different houses of Japan inspired me. I used bright coloured paper to make a collage of the Japanese style of houses and I learned about the Tea Houses. I used acrylic paint to create a sunset effect for the background as the sun symbolised life and growth and happiness. I also knew that Japan used the sun as a symbol and it is known for its great beauty.

Ward 1 Troon:

  • 1st place  – Poppy Nicolson: The different seasons inspired me – spring, summer, autumn, winter. I really enjoyed creating my painting as it was such a beautiful theme of peace.

  • 2nd place – Beth McLachlan: My inspiration for my peaceful town was Troon as it is such a peaceful place to live and go to school. I used bright, warm colours as they make me happy and being happy helps promote peace. I used the lighthouse as a symbol of guiding people home and keeping everyone safe. I used Van Gogh inspired stars to show Troon, a peaceful town at night.

Ward 2 Prestwick:

  • 1st place  – Evie Siedlecki: I think Ayr beach is a really peaceful place, I love going there.

  • 2nd place – Liam Walters-Gardner: I was inspired by Poppy Day. I think that Ayr is a peaceful town because people are friendly and helpful and I like living here.

Ward 3 Ayr North:

  • 1st place  – Dominik Jones: I was inspired to do my artwork by a nice peaceful street with a zoo in the area for the families to go see all the animals.

  • 2nd place – Kasey Galloway: I dream about a world where there is nothing but peace, where towns work together and support each other. As human beings, our race and differences are not something to be judged but something to be celebrated as one. We are all the same and peace can be accomplished if you just take one step at a time to make the world a better place.

Ward 4 Ayr East:

  • 1st place  – Kady Kadens: What inspired me was the story of how the peaceful trees got noticed. When I heard about the bombing, I was so sorry, but I'm glad everything is OK now. I loved drawing my picture.

  • 2nd place – Mikey Gerrard: You find peace, not by rearranging the circumstances of the past, but by coming to peace in the world around you.

Ward 5 Ayr West:

  • 1st place – Maya Hawthorn: My peaceful town entry was inspired by the peaceful place that I live by the sea. I always remember playing in the sea with my siblings and going down walks with my family listening to the crashing waves and the peaceful family of pearly white swans. I wish everywhere was this peaceful.

  • 2nd place – Grace Nugent: My peaceful town artwork was inspired by the town and city. Peace isn't just in the country or the place you live, it's found within a person. No wars. Only friendship.  

Ward 6 Kyle:

  • 1st place  – James McLaughlan: To look after the environment by using less fuel.

  • 2nd place – Laila Cobb: A town to relax in and to find peace and quiet.

Ward 7 Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton:

  • 1st place  – Cadhla Carter: I felt that trees represent the peace in nature. I used the colours orange and red to represent the fire.

  • 2nd place – Renee Harrop: The teacher inspired everyone in the class to do the artwork and it was great fun.

Ward 8 Girvan and South Carrick:

  • 1st place  – Ammie Sloan: I drew symbols that represent Scotland and Japan to show our similarities.

  • 2nd place – Eva Lawrie: I drew a dove on a cherry blossom tree because it is a symbol of peace and the tree is associated with Japan. I drew a St Andrew's cross flag to show the link between Scotland and Japan's peaceful towns.