TWO budding artists from Sale and Altrincham are in the running to make history - designing Royal Mail’s 2017 Christmas stamps.

As part of Royal Mail’s children’s Christmas Stamp Design Competition, designs by Bethany Bevan, five, of St Anne’s CE Primary School, Sale, and Dev Banerjee, nine, of Altrincham Preparatory School, have been chosen from among the 22,287 entries from across the North West.

Bethany and Dev are two of four children that have been shortlisted and they will now go through to the next stage of the competition, where judges will select their top two designs to represent the region in the national final.

Judges for the North West include Susan Lee from the Liverpool Echo; Jemima Pyne from Tate Liverpool; Sarah Maxfield from the Arts Council and Ady Fielding from Royal Mail.

A national panel of judges will then select the two designs that will feature on this year’s 1st and 2nd Class Christmas stamps. The stamps will be on sale from November 7, 2017.

The finalists have all already won £100 in vouchers and £100 for their schools. However, this will increase if they progress in the competition.

Royal Mail has received over 200,000 entries from children aged 4-11 years old from across the UK in response to the question: ‘What does the Christmas season mean to you?’

Only three times before in Royal Mail’s history – 1966, 1981 and 2013 - have the official Christmas stamps been designed by children.

As with all Special Stamps issued by Royal Mail, both winning designs will have to be approved by The Queen. Other Christmas stamps for different postal rates, and a religious-themed issue, will also be available from November 7 2017.