Joseph and Gem competition winners

Best dressed Santa dog Gem pictured with owner Courtney,
Best dressed Santa dog Gem pictured with owner Courtney,

THEY dressed up for Christmas and they have been rewarded for their efforts - these are the adorable winners of the Mail’s Santa Clothes competition.

Dozens of entrants were dropped into the Mail office as festive residents got into the Christmas spirit.

Joseph Bird pictured with parents Justin and Nicola and sister Sophie and brotherSam.

Joseph Bird pictured with parents Justin and Nicola and sister Sophie and brotherSam.

Children and adults dressed as Santa, angels, snowmen and elves while dogs, cats and hamsters were just some of the pets entered into the competition.

The standard of entry was extremely high for both sections, humans and animals.

Two-year-old Joseph Bird and Gem, the fox terrier, are the champions.

Little Joseph entered the competition with his older sister Sophie, eight, and cousin Isaac, four.

And all three of them will be sharing the winning prize of £100, which was kindly donated by town taxi firm HODA 26.

Joseph’s mum, Nicola, 39, said: “We read about the competition in the Mail and thought it was worth a shot, we never thought about winning, it was all just good fun. It’s fantasic news, we are all over the moon.”

Nicola and husband Justin, 40, both college lecturers who live in the West Park area of Hartlepool, are also parents to Samuel, 11.

Nicola added: “Joseph looked so cute in his outfit, we are all very proud.”

Meanwhile, the Shaw family are also feeling extremely proud this Christmas of their four-year-old terrier, Gem.

Joanne Shaw, 44, said she, along with her husband Colin, 44, a quantity surveyor and two children, Danielle, 16, and Courtney, 11, had no idea their beloved pet would be crowned the winner.

The family, who live in Seaton Carew, were delighted when they found out the good news.

Joanne, who is unemployed, said: “We think Gem is absolutely lovely, she is part of the family, so to find out she has won the Santa Clothes competition is brilliant.

“We are all over the moon, it’s a brilliant Christmas surprise.

“We will get Gem a lovely Christmas treat with the money.”