Schools from across Dacorum in technology battle

Engineers of the future pitted their wits against each other in a technology tournament at Berkhamsted’s Ashlyns School.

The 120 competitors, all aged 12 to 16, came from schools across Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead for a mystery challenge – revealed to them on the day itself.

When they arrived on Thursday, they were split into teams of four and given about two hours to build a weight-powered vehicle that could go uphill on a test track.

Teams from the 11 schools had to describe in a portfolio how to make their vehicle, then build it with materials provided – which included wood, pulleys, card and wheels.

Their audience included mayor of Dacorum Herbert Chapman and Berkhamsted councillor Ian Reay.

The winners were Cavendish School at foundation level, Adeyfield School, intermediate, and John F Kennedy School, advanced – all based in Hemel Hempstead.

Organiser Rob Ferneyhough said: “The interest and enthusiasm of the young people was tremendous and the school hall was a hive of industry right through to the final testing when teams could see their models in action.”

The tournament has been organised for the past 20 years by the Rotary Club of Berkhamsted Bulbourne and the Rotary Club of Hemel Hempstead.

It was sponsored this year by manufacturing firm FFEI, of Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, and Kings Langley-based Renewable Energy Systems.

FFEI managing director Andy Cook said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Rotary technology tournament and we hope the event will encourage young people into engineering and technology.”

Shields, Amazon vouchers and models of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car were presented to the winning teams by the mayor.