Two primary schoolgirls are set to become the UK’s youngest entrants in a Robotics contest.

Emily Duffey, eight and Beth Thomas, seven, from Welwyn Garden City have spent months designing, building and programming their very own robot, called Ruby, which stands 15 inches high.

Yolanda Rugg CEO for the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Emily and Beth from Holy Family Catholic Primary School. The chamber has a Young Chamber programme, and for many years has been campaigning for more businesses to get involved to inspire the next generation of business leaders into STEM  (science, technology, engineering and maths subjects), and to start engagement at a much younger age”.

On 29th January, the two pupils from Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Crookhams will be taking on 23 other teams in a regional heat of the Vex IQ Bank shot challenge at the Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb, North London.But all the other contestants are from secondary schools aged between 11 and 14.

They are also entered for another regional heat in February and if they win any one of four categories they will take part in the national finals in March at Birmingham’s NEC which will involve 40 teams.Both girls have been working on Ruby since September in their spare time at weekends.

If Beth and Emily win through to the UK finals and manage to get a qualification spot, they could end up taking part in the international finals in Louisville Kentucky, later this year, competing against 700 teams from all over the world.

Emily’s dad Andrew said: “Emily and Beth will be the youngest competitors there by some way but it is a fantastic opportunity to expose them to this new and emerging technology. The tournaments consist of skills challenges which involve manually operating the robot in a grid area, as well as automatically programming it so it picks up three, three inch balls, shooting them into a scoring zone, as well as manoeuvring up a ramp in a timed challenge”.

 “The exercise has given them a good grounding in science, technology and maths,” added Andrew who is head of design and technology at Henrietta Barnett School.

Beth’s dad Andy added: “Both girls are enjoying doing this project which they have built from scratch using their own ideas.

"The girls have entered a second event to be held in Highgate in February also and we hope following meetings with Yolanda and the Chamber that local businesses will come forward and support introducing this to primary school children within Welwyn and Hatfield".

Emily said: “I am very excited and keeping my fingers crossed that Ruby will do well at the contest. We still have a lot of practising to do.”

Beth added: “I am also excited and very pleased that Ruby is working. Both Emily and I are putting the finishing touches to it.”