A 10-year-old boy from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Ushaw Moor has just returned from a visit to COP26 in Glasgow after his class won a photography competition.

Lucas Mondiere’s name was drawn out of a hat after his Year 6 class’ “Image of Hope” was selected as the winning entry in the ECO2 Smart Schools Climate Conference competition, run by Durham University Energy Institute and Durham County Council. They had to depict their thoughts and feelings about climate change through a photograph.

The prize was for Lucas and his mum, Clare, to visit the Green Zone Youth Programme of events at the Glasgow Science Centre. Youth groups, academia, artists and businesses from across the UK and all over the world hosted events, exhibitions, cultural performances, workshops and talks, giving youngsters an amazing opportunity to listen, learn and celebrate climate action.

Lucas and Clare spent the day taking part in tasks, exploring the exhibitions, and also met climate change scientist and communicator, David Saddington, which was the highlight of Lucas’ day.

Lucas says: “I really enjoyed talking to David and finding out more about how he became involved in working for climate change. I also enjoyed trying the virtual reality headsets to learn about flooding and space. Climate change is really important, and we need to change the way we live to help other generations not to ruin the environment.”

Mum, Clare, adds: “We had a lovely time, and it was great to spend some quality time together learning about climate change. I was very proud of how Lucas handled himself and was pleased to see him enjoying the conference and taking the issue seriously. It was a great opportunity for him to learn how we can change small things to make a difference. We will try and make little changes in our home from now on.”

Louise Keenan, head teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, part of the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, says: “Class 4 was delighted to win this exciting award and Lucas was thrilled when his name was picked out of the hat to attend COP26. Lucas and his mum were excellent ambassadors for the school, and he benefited greatly from attending the Green Zone programme.”