Capital trip goes with a bang for young eco warriors

Students from Newminster Middle School in Morpeth who went to London to the Big Bang Fair 2011 and accepted a Merit for what the school had done with climate issues.  They are Alex Browell, Fran Adamson, Victoria Levison and Sarah Larby.
Students from Newminster Middle School in Morpeth who went to London to the Big Bang Fair 2011 and accepted a Merit for what the school had done with climate issues. They are Alex Browell, Fran Adamson, Victoria Levison and Sarah Larby.
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YOUNG eco warriors have notched up a national victory after showing off their green credentials.

Four members of Newminster Middle School’s Climate Crew travelled to the capital last month to display their environmental work at The Big Bang Young Scientists and Engineers Fair.

And the Year 8 girls — Sarah Larby, Alex Browell, Fran Adamson and Victoria Levison — got more than they bargained for, appearing on the BBC Breakfast show, meeting celebrity scientist Brian Cox and walking away with the Young Engineers Merit award.

The pupils claimed their prestigious prize after a tough grilling by judges.

Two sets of two judges interviewed them for ten to 15 minutes about their display, before they were questioned again by a fifth judge.

But while they were happy with their performance, initially the youngsters thought they had missed out on the award.

Teacher Gillian Whitmell, who accompanied the pupils for their three-day London trip, said: “They were really excited about being on television and were pleased that they had the chance to talk to lots of people about what we do in school because they are really passionate about it.

“They didn’t have any idea about how well they were going to do and they didn’t think they had won an award because there was a big ceremony on the Friday night for the Young Engineer and Young Scientist awards and they didn’t get anything.

“They were a bit disheartened, but when they got to their stand in the morning there was an envelope and it turned out that they had won an award. We were all thrilled.”

The prize came with a reward of £125, which will be used for further environmental work, such as planting a school orchard.

Newminster has just become one of only a handful of schools in the county to achieve the Green Flag award and has invested in renewable energy, recycling and a wildlife garden.

Lessons at the school often have a green theme and pupils grow vegetables for the school kitchens, with fertiliser coming from a wormery.