Heanor school scale new heights in drone design contest

From left, Niall Garwood, headteacher Kelvin Gibbs, teacher Aimee Brown, Jonathan Nicholson of the Civil Aviation Authority and Amazons Lauren Kisser.

Two Heanor school pupils have been named as the region’s best in a competition to design a flying humanitarian drone for retail giant Amazon.

Mundy Junior School pupil Niall Garwood’s design was chosen as the East Midlands winner in the nationwide contest backed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Niall Garwood's winning design to help relieve droughts.

Niall, who is in year four, created his LE3-699 to help deliver water to places experiencing drought.

It was double delight for Mundy, as Izzie Neave in year three took second place with her Alhoi drone, which would carry and recycle food waste.

Amazon director Lauren Kisser said: “I’m delighted that the Design a Drone competition encouraged these students to unleash their creative thinking on how drones can be used to improve society.

“The entries were full of innovative and thoughtful ideas that could very well change the world one day.”

Izzie Neave's runner-up design could be a solution for food waste of the future.

Both young engineers were awarded their prizes in a special ceremony during a school assembly and took home gift baskets of educational prizes.

As the regional winner, Niall earned £1,000 for the school to spend on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) resources.

He will also progress to the national final, having been shortlisted from more than 1,700 entries down to just 12.

If he wins, he will be invited to the Amazon Prime Air Lab in Cambridge where the winning design will be exhibited for a year.

Both pupils received gift baskets of STEM prizes from Amazon.

The lab is working on projects including Prime Air, a delivery system to get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones.

The competition was helded to raise awareness of the CAA’s Drone Code, which outlines how to fly drones safely and within the law in the UK.

CAA spokesman Jonathan Nicholson said: “It was great to see so many students showing an interest in drones.

“By the time they are adults, drones could well be playing key roles in everyday life. But for that to happen we need everyone who flies a drone now to do so safely.”

The full Drone Code can be found at www.dronesafe.uk.

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