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Gallery: Holbrook Primary School pupils pit their computing wits against rest of the world during Brazil adventure

PUBLISHED: 17:56 28 July 2014 | UPDATED: 17:56 28 July 2014

Katie Cuddihy, Andrew Collett, Jessica Logan and Lucy Ferguson before they travelled to Brazil for the robotics competition with teacher Richard Williams.

Katie Cuddihy, Andrew Collett, Jessica Logan and Lucy Ferguson before they travelled to Brazil for the robotics competition with teacher Richard Williams.

The England team may have left this year’s World Cup in Brazil early but pupils from Holbrook Primary School have quickly taken their places in South America.

Back in April, a team of students who had been learning about robotics won the first ever Junior RoboCup Rescue League.

As a result the quartet, made up of Andrew Collett, Katie Cuddihy, Lucy Ferguson (all 11) and Jessica Logan (eight), led by the school’s computing co-ordinator Richard Williams, won the chance to represent Great Britain at the RoboCup World Finals – if they could raise £12,000.

Fortunately, the group’s fundraising was successful and they spent more than a week out in Brazil showing the rest of the world what Britain is made of.

A special assembly was held at the school before the team, named the Holbrook Digiminds, left for Joao Pessoa, Brazil’s most easterly city.

This was a chance to thank sponsors for their donations towards the trip and also to unveil HolBot, a 3D printed robot mascot created for the students by MyMiniFactory.com.

And HolBot certainly brought the team good luck – they reached as high as third place in their league as they battled it out with around 4,000 other young people from 50 countries.

The children were involved in the rescue simulation league where they had to design a programme for a virtual robot to make its way around a hazard field, rescue victims and take them to safety.

Co-ordinator of the CoSpace Rescue League Josie Hughes said a new challenge introduced at the competition saw entrants “create a completely new programme to guide the robot through a maze.

“They were not permitted any help from their teacher,” she added. “The Digiminds seemed well prepared. Their technical presentation was excellent.”

Teacher Richard Williams said: “I was so nervous when the children walked away from me to the programming room. It was like exam conditions.

“But I shouldn’t have worried. The children were incredible and scored 100/100.

“Their nearest rivals, the Chinese, only scored 85. This shows that our children are the best at programming and they can do it without my help.

“I am so proud of them.”

Away from the competition Andrew said he had enjoyed getting to know children from other countries, using Google Translate to communicate with them.

And Jessica, the youngest ever competitor at RoboCup, was a little baffled at all the attention.

“It’s like I’m a celebrity,” she said during the trip. “People from across South America are queuing to take their picture with me.

“I don’t know if it’s because of my age, my blonde hair or because they really love robots.”

The team returned from Joao Pessoa on July 27. Family and friends back home had been able to follow their progress @holbrookpri and @trainyteacher on Twitter.

You can still donate to the group’s fundraising by searching for MyDonate Holbrook on the MyDonate website.

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