Three in a row for Daisy as she lifts engineering prize

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Three determined young women were celebrating recently after taking the top spots in the annual engineering competition held in Lamlash church hall, writes Rory Cowan.

And for the third year in a row, Daisy McNamara, 12, took first prize.

This year’s event was well attended – despite it being held on the same day as the royal wedding – with judges and supporters having an enjoyable time watching the efforts of the 10 entries – individuals and teams – as they demonstrated their solutions to the task.

Competitors had to fire/project four table tennis balls from the floor into a dustbin a metre off the ground.  A range of techniques were employed, with  a long lever solution being the most popular.

Competitors were permitted a few ‘sighters’ and then they were off – with eight minutes to get four balls into the bin.

It’s a daunting prospect at a young age to undertake the task on your own, and with only eight minutes to do it in, that takes some determination. So very many congratulations to all who persevered – and everyone did.

A good crowd watched with bated breath as the competition progressed, with loud cheers greeting each successful shot.

The judges saw some innovative solutions and clearly the competitors understood the principles, judging by how their entries were made and how they worked. Marks were awarded for the quality of demonstration and presentation of each idea.

So thanks to all who took part, to those who helped and to all parents, relatives and friends who turned up to support the children.

Winner Daisy McNamara designed her own solution – carefully guarded from industrial spying – which she  built and operated herself. She got four balls into the dustbin in 20 seconds. Second was Rosie McNamara with four balls in 26 seconds. Third was Olivia McNeice with four balls in 51 seconds.

Scotland is renowned for producing good engineers.  Today more than ever we are dependent upon engineers for everyday living – from pencils and wall paint to central heating and telephones. It is not all about the large-scale, sexy projects such as bridges and space ports.

In fact, it would be impossible to get up each morning, dress, eat breakfast and go to work without the influence of engineers. After all who makes the bed, the bedclothes, the clothes you wear, your transport, the road surfacing materials – even if they are seldom applied? Who makes the buildings you live and work in? And so it goes on.  We simply cannot exist today without the help of engineers.

For those reasons this competition is important, because it encourages us all to think about the importance of engineering and to possibly consider a career in it.

Engineering competition winner Daisy McNamara (centre) with runners-up Rosie McNamara and Olivia McNeice. NO_B22engine01

Some of the contestants who took part in the engineering competition. NO_B22engine02