AN eight-year-old York schoolgirl has won an international coding competition.

Hannah Laird, 8, of The Mount Junior School, was named among 12 winners of the Shaun the Sheep Mission to Space challenge by Aardman Animations in partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the Code Club.

The competition attracted entries by young coders from 35 countries around the world. Four winners were named from the UK, of which Hannah is the youngest and the only one from Yorkshire.

Hannah said: “I really enjoy coding because I enjoy experimenting with things. You put lots of blocks together and see what happens. Use your imagination, and let it do all the work. Women should not think that coding is for men only: coding is for everyone. If you enjoy it, do it. When it comes to coding, my heroes are my mum and my sister. My sister is really good, she won a teeshirt design competition.”

The competition, which was open to all registered Code Clubs, challenged young coders to create a Scratch animation of Shaun and Lu-la and remix it adding their own story and code.

The judges’ panel included officials from Raspberry Pi Foundation and Aardman Animations, creators of Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit. The Code Club said on their blog that the standard of the entries was so high that the panel had to select 12 winners instead of their original target of 10.

The Code Club said: “Judges thought Hannah’s project was very joyful. They also thought that the way she recorded her own voice for the animation was really creative and unique.”

The young winners came from the UK, France, Iraq, Israel, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

Rachel Capper, head of The Mount Junior School, said: “We are absolutely thrilled for Hannah that she has won an international coding competition and is the youngest UK winner. She is an outstanding digital leader for her year group.

"Through our Junior School’s digital competency and computing curriculum, children begin coding from Year 1 and enjoy extra-curricular opportunities to play with their skills such as in robotics club and coding club. It doesn’t end at the school gates, either: we recently held an after school AppSmashing workshop for parents and girls to enhance collaborative learning.”