A team of budding engineers from Penpol School, Hayle, have been selected as finalists in a Lego competition in the USA — but they need your help to get there! 

Penpol Pumpkins

The Penpol Pumpkins are hoping to raise £25,000 to pay for their flights, accommodation, and transport in Massachusetts. They have set up a fundraising page, but time is of the essence as the event takes place in a matter of weeks, from 9th-11th June.

Jacob Woolcock, the Pumpkins’ teacher, recorded a heart-warming video of them finding out that they had been selected for the international First Lego League finals, which you can view here

He said: “It’s a huge honour to be asked to represent Great Britain at this international final, and is a real testament to the hard work and determination which our students in the Penpol Pumpkins have showed this year.   

“They are already one of the very best teams in the whole country — now we can safely say they’re one of the best in the world! The final challenge to overcome is how we get them all there (and ideally back again, too) in a matter of a few weeks.   

“Logistically and financially this is a big ask, but we’re determined to make it there and to give these children a truly life-changing experience.” 

News that they had been selected to take on 96 of the best teams in the world in the USA comes after the team came second overall in the national First Lego League competition. Their project to help Cornwall Council promote a new food waste collection service was also named best in the country. 

The inter-school competition aims to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and maths. It sees youngsters design and build Lego robots to complete a variety of tasks, as well as complete a project and presentation. This year’s competition was all about exploring how energy is sourced, transported and consumed around the world. 

The Cornish team — comprising Jenna, Ada, Caio, Felix, Ethan, James B, James S, Piran, Ernie, and Miles, all aged 10 or 11 — named themselves the Penpol Pumpkins after being inspired by the freaky fruit during Halloween last year. They were amazed how many were thrown away in household rubbish and vowed to find a way to waste less food. 

That’s when they found out the council was planning to start a food waste collection service and embarked on a project to create an advertising campaign including TV, radio, Tik-Tok, and posters to support the scheme.  

“It is amazing news that the Penpol Pumpkins have been selected to compete in the international finals in the USA,” said Barbara Ellenbroek, cabinet member for children and families at Cornwall Council.

“It will truly be an experience of a lifetime for them and a real opportunity to showcase the talent that we have in Cornwall.  

“I would urge as many individuals and businesses that can do so to visit their fundraising website and donate or sponsor these inspirational young people.”