Teenager inspires the next generation of problem solvers

A TEENAGER from Kendal received a special award for helping to inspire the next

generation of Cumbria’s science and technology leaders in a global competition.

Tristan Donato, of Sedgwick, celebrated his 16th birthday by giving up his time to

volunteer to help organisers of the FIRST LEGO League competition.

Tristan was a judge for the regional finals which took place in Barrow, Carlisle and

Workington, with the winners from each of five regional finals going on to the UK finals

in Bristol later this month with the chance to reach the world finals in the USA.

Star volunteer: Tristan Donato, 16, of Sedgwick, who helped set up and judge the FIRST LEGO League Cumbria regional finals.

C-STEM director Fran Ward, who helps organise the FIRST LEGO League in Cumbria,

paid tribute to Tristan’s dedication in inspiring the next generation of problem solvers.

“Tristan is a massive help to the staging of the competition in Cumbria. And we wanted

to recognise that by making a presentation to him at the end of the regional finals.

“He helps build the tables for the robot challenge. He can assemble them in half the

time that even two people can do.

“He’s also a great judge for the competition as his knowledge of the rules is


Tristan said: “I make sure everyone understands the rules and give the competitors

advice on what they can and can’t do. I really enjoy being involved and helping out.”

Good news for Tristan is that there are likely to be more schools and businesses

involved in FIRST LEGO League from closer to home next year.

Pete Woolaghan, co-founder of REACT Engineering and the charitable REACT

Foundation, who is a big advocate of the competition, says inspiring more people to get

involved from the Kendal and Lakes area is the final piece of the Cumbria jigsaw.

Pete said: “Through a TeamCumbria approach we are creating a community of like-

minded individuals in businesses and organisations across Cumbria who are looking

outwards from the county and doing great things.

“This is what Cumbria should be doing more of - giving our amazing young people the

opportunity to shine on the national and international stage.

“We are looking to encourage schools and businesses from the Kendal, Windermere.

Ambleside and Central Lakes areas to get involved for the 2020/2021 competition which

starts in September this year.

“This will fill the map and mean the whole of Cumbria is involved which helps achieve

our ambition when we started out five years ago of getting 100 teams from Cumbria

taking part. This increases our chances of success in the national finals, and ultimately

for a team from Cumbria to be competing on the global stage in the world finals.”

A total of 72 schools took part in the Cumbria regional finals this year with teams from

Barrow, Carlisle and Gosforth winning through to the national finals in Bristol on

February 22.

To find out more about FIRST LEGO League visit To discuss

how your school or business can get involved email