More than 40 teachers representing 34 schools across Cornwall were among the first wave to sign up for the Tall Ships' Big Art and Storytelling competition at a launch held at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

John Dyer, the artist in residence for the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta, has produced an official painting to mark the regatta at the end of August. The painting has been interpreted by five nationally acclaimed writers and children are now being invited to respond with their own paintings, stories, poems and plays - making this a unique creative opportunity.

In order to engage children from all over Cornwall, schools were invited to be among the first to see the painting and hear the professional writing read and performed for the first time at this special event.

Randall Brook, head of Mawnan School, said: “The Tall Ships Regatta is a unique community event and it is amazing to think that our reception class were not even born the last time Falmouth hosted these spectacular ships in 2008. This project is a fantastic way for the event to inspire our children in a creative capacity.”

Rachel Cockerill-Sharpe, from Tregony CP School, said: “I'm sure that it will be just brilliant to see all the different entries and such a lovely idea to embrace all forms of communication, visual and literal. It will appeal to all of the children in school in some way.”

Commenting on the success of the evening John Dyer said: “The reaction has been overwhelming, it is exactly what we hoped for and it looks like we will have a massive engagement with this project from children right across the county and the UK.

“We already have several hundred children lined up to attend project workshops. The comments from schools coming into us today are fantastic, they are all really fired up about this and I can see why, as it is a magical, highly creative and unique project. I wish I had been involved in a project like this when I was at school, as the potential for this is absolutely huge.”

John Frankland, creative producer for the project who commissioned the writers, added: "We are hoping that this project will fire the imagination and creativity of thousands of children enabling them through painting and writing to link directly to the cultural importance of the Tall Ships to Falmouth.”

The competition is open for entries from children aged 16 and under, with closing date of August 1. Details of how to enter can be found at, which also includes an inspirational video, encouraging children to take part in the competition and reveals the painting being created.

All of the children's work will be celebrated and displayed on an online interactive gallery with the top 200 art entries and a selection of the writing will be on display at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall during the regatta.

Submitted pic: Teachers attend launch of Big Art and Storytelling Competition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.