A SCHOOLGIRL from York has won runner-up prize in The Big Bang Competition.

Sophie Search, who goes to The Mount School, created a riding aid for a disabled horse riding group and has been awarded the senior runner up in the engineering category of contest.

For her project, Sophie created a unit which a disabled riding group could use to become used to various elements of riding and looking after a horse, such as brushing, or putting a bridle over its head.

More 500 finalists from across the country were selected to show their ideas at The Big Bang Fair where ten were then shortlisted to pitch Dragon’s Den-style to a panel of VIP judges - Andrew Smyth (Rolls-Royce aerospace engineer and former Great British Bake-Off contestant), Jessica Jones (engineer and astrophysicist) and Alex Deakin (Met Office meteorologist and weather presenter).

The Big Bang Competition is an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

Winners of The Big Bang Competition in 2017 have since gone on to enjoy a range of other achievements on the back of their successes at last year’s The Fair – including winning international awards; appearing on Springwatch; getting other young people involved in their citizen science project, taking part in conference presentations to industry professionals.

Sophie, who was the senior runner up in the engineering category, said: “I worked so hard on our project, and it was a subject I really believed in so achieving this recognition for our work when there were so many amazing projects in the running is wonderful.”

Sophie wins £250 in prize money to continue her STEM work as well as a trophy and certificate.

Congratulating Sophie, Mark Titterington, chief executive of EngineeringUK which organises The Big Bang Competition, said: “The calibre of finalists we’ve had this year has been astounding. They’ve all shown such insight, creativity and hard work in each of their entries.

"This innovative project was extremely impressive, making Sophie a worthy senior runner-up this year. I’m hopeful that seeing what she’s achieved will encourage her to do more incredible work and inspire other young people across the UK to enter next year’s Competition.

"The level of entries we’ve received this year certainly bodes well for the future that the scientists, engineers and inventors of tomorrow are already producing such creative project work.”