Uxbridge College students got a special VIP invitation to No. 10 as a ‘thank you’ for helping create the official Downing Street Christmas card.

The young designers made the trip on 1 December after Boris Johnson, in his capacity as local MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, commissioned them to create a festive panel for the reverse side of the card.

This year’s official card features Boris and Carrie Johnson’s pet dog Dilyn on the front, and student Tejinder Virdee’s hand-drawn and painted watercolour and acrylic of the No. 10 door on the back. Tejinder is pictured on Mr Johnson’s right. His design was chosen from 15 designs submitted by students age 16-20 years on Level 1 Art, Design & Media and Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design. The design project was led by Roz Walecki, Course Team Leader in Art & Design.

The students watched the lights being switched on around the famous 20ft tree outside the No. 10 door each Christmas, then had their photo taken with Boris Johnson inside, along with college staff, Sue Tarrant, Head of Health, Social Care and Creative Arts; David Storer, Section Manager Art, Design & Media; and Juliette Jenkins, PA to HCUC Principal Dr Darrell DeSouza. The event took place when previous Covid guidance was still in place.

Boris Johnson said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome the students from Uxbridge College to Downing Street and have the opportunity to thank them in person for taking part in the design for the Downing Street Christmas card. All of the shortlisted entries were absolutely brilliant and I want to say thank you to everyone for taking part, and to Tejinder for his winning design showcasing the iconic No. 10 door.”

David Storer said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our Art & Design students, and a real privilege to be part of the Prime Minister’s year in this way - this has certainly been an unforgettable opportunity. We are very proud of our students - they tackled this challenge head on with enthusiasm and individual creativity, producing wonderful and exciting interpretations of the traditional Christmas card. It was a unique inspiration to be meeting a brief for such a high-profile project, which will reach so many people.”

Dr Darrell DeSouza, CEO & Group Principal HCUC, said: “As our constituency MP, it is really nice that Boris Johnson has kept his local Uxbridge College students in mind for this project, particularly considering how busy he is as Prime Minister. It is extremely pleasing to be involved in such a lovely project and the students and staff would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to him for involving us in this.”

The students used a wide variety of traditional and digital techniques to produce the work as part of Uxbridge College’s work experience programme. The designs were aimed at reflecting the college’s diversity and commitment to British values.