A FORMER Smithills pupil has thanked his old art teacher after being recognised as one of the most exciting young creatives in the country.

Jack Parker was awarded with three pencils at the D&AD New Blood awards, including the highest accolade the black pencil, which is awarded to “the best of the best”.

He described the competition as “like the Oscars for advertising and design” and dedicated the win to his former teacher Mrs Horne.

Mr Parker said: “I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for Mrs Horne at Smithills making sure I took a path in design and advertising.

“If she hadn’t pushed me, I wouldn’t have even thought about a career in this. I remember she was adamant I had to go down this path and literally drove me to college open days with my parents to see the different design and advertising courses.

“I couldn’t owe it to her more, she is a top teacher.”

Mr Parker worked alongside fellow design graduate Savannah Finnestone to create an advertising campaign for Adidas, with the aim to get more girls competing in sport, especially those from diverse backgrounds.

Their design revolved around getting more black girls swimming in London after research showed them that one of the biggest barriers in stopping black girls getting in the pool is their hair. The campaign - called Make Waves with Waves - included free swimming lessons for young black women and a range of swim caps fit for all black hair types.

Following the win, the pair were invited to the Adidas headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany to speak more in depth about their project.

Mr Parker added: “The project has been posted on news sites worldwide in USA and China. Its mad.

“We have also been interviewed on TV about it on London Live 6pm news.

“I’m currently on placement at a leading advertising agency Ogilvy London working on campaigns for Coca-Cola, British Airways and more.”