Fatema Zahra wins ‘Make A Mug, Make A Difference’ Campaign In Support Of NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal

Royal Crown Derby’s ‘make a mug, make a difference’ competition which gives children the exclusive opportunity to design a mug that celebrates the NHS generated over 600 entries. Entries came from across the UK from Cornwall to Oban from artists age 3 to 17. The winning mugs will now be made by Royal Crown Derby Artisans who aim to produce 26,299 mugs, representing and celebrating every day since the formation of the NHS on July 5 1948 to its 72nd anniversary in 2020.


The competition entries in each age category, under 12’s and 12-18 were shortlisted by our in house design team who were really impressed with the standard of the entries. And the final winner in each category was selected by the artist and children’s author Liz Million.


The winner in the under 12 category was the talented Fatema Zahra Mithwani age 11. Fatema’s school encouraged her to enter the competition and her bright optimistic design caught the eye straight away.


The winner in the 12 to 18 category was Shaaswatha Ramachandran age 14 whose digital design is lively, clever and well thought out.


Fatema Zahra says “For as long as I can remember, I have loved to draw and write. It is just that feeling you get when you bring things to life, with words, colours, shapes, and your very own unique touches! For my final design, I decided to include the motif of 2 smiling doctors linking arms, to represent unity, solidarity, community spirit, determination, resilience, service, teamwork and optimism. I’d like to thank my magnificent art teacher, Ruth and my Year 6 form teacher, Mrs Keigher, who encouraged us all to take part!”


Shaaswatha says “When I started the design, I had two themes in mind. Diversity and Heroes. I was inspired by the diversity of people in the NHS who come together like a family to help everyone. When I was thinking about heroes, I thought about how when we go to the doctor we are asked how we are, but we never ask the doctor if they are OK. I am honoured to have taken part in this competition which allows me to say thank you to the NHS.”


Liz Million said “I was honoured when asked to take part in this wonderful competition. The amount of entries was just unbelievable and it was such a tricky job narrowing them down to two winners. Both designs were colourful, eye-catching and portrayed a strong message of hope with the battle against Covid 19. Shaaswatha and Fatema were very worthy winners as each creative design managed to capture the current celebratory spirit of the UK . The NHS is a magnificent institution and what better way to celebrate than with a lovely cuppa in a beautiful Royal Crown Derby mug!? I can’t wait to purchase both mugs for my own brew.”


Both mugs can be pre ordered and are priced at £30 with 100% of profits being donated directly to NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Each purchase includes a free ticket to tour the Royal Crown Derby factory and museum. Those wishing to buy the mug as a gift have the option to add a personalised gift message to their delivery. When museums are once again open for business Royal Crown Derby Museum are planning a temporary exhibition on commemorative pieces where both winning designs will take centre stage. The Designs will also be on show at the V&A in London.


Royal Crown Derby’s Managing Director, Christopher Oakes, comments “We launched the ‘Make a mug, Make a difference’ campaign with a number of goals in mind.  Firstly, we wanted to provide an exciting challenge and boost creativity for young people during this incredibly challenging time.  Based upon the incredibly positive feedback we’ve received and the huge number of fantastic entries, we believe the campaign has more than achieved its initial goals.  Now we’re focussing on delivering the ultimate objective of generating much needed funds for the NHS and our Artisans are busy making these stunning mugs.”


Royal Crown Derby Museum Director, Elizabeth Woledge comments “Seeing all of the entries as they came in has been a real pleasure. There were some really excellent designs, showcasing the many ways in which young people are inspired by the NHS today. Everyone’s entry was very much appreciated and the winners and highly commended entrants should be very proud of themselves indeed.”


The winners will be invited to Derby to meet the design team and see how the mugs are made from start to finish at the factory, in the heart of England. The winners will also take a tour of the Palace of Westminster with Jo Gideon MP and will be presented with the first mug off the production line together with their framed artwork. The winners will also visit the V&A, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, where their mugs will be exhibited the trip to London will include a stay in the luxurious Royal Lancaster Hotel.


Tristram Hunt Said “It has been fantastic to see all the designs that have been submitted for this innovative project. Providing vital funding for our NHS whilst encouraging ceramic skills for a new generation, Royal Crown Derby has developed a meaningful and important response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to welcoming the winning designers to the V&A soon.”


Royal Crown Derby are also grateful for the generous support of Global Ceramic Materials limited who are generously providing a discount on the raw materials meaning that even more money can be donated to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.



  • Founded in 1750, Royal Crown Derby is the UK’s oldest tableware manufacturer making exquisite fine bone china.
  • In 2016 Royal Crown Derby was acquired by Kevin Oakes who is Owner and Chairman. His Son, Christopher is Managing Director.
  • Royal Crown Derby employs around 110 people at its factory, the Historic Osmaston Works in Derby, England. Its products are 100% made in England.
  • Established in 1750, the company became known as “Crown Derby” by King George III in 1775. In 1890, Queen Victoria bestowed the title “Royal” creating the company name of “Royal Crown Derby.”
  • Royal Crown Derby has global distribution in more than 50 countries and Clients include the world’s finest retailers, luxury hotels, yachts, jets and Royal Palaces.