Four West Cumbrian school pupils will be heading Down Under next year to represent the UK in an international competition.

Keswick School students William Harrison, of Threlkeld, Niamh McMullin of Eaglesfield, plus Greysouthen’s Bertie Cook and Adrian Megan have won the National Final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz.

The Year 8 pupils travelled down to London for the national final on December 4, after winning the regional heat back in November.

And the team had a superb day to come out on top to become UK champions.

“We were all in shock when they were announced as the winners,” said school librarian and English teacher, Helen Robinson.

“We’re amazed but delighted, of course,” she added. “It’s lovely to see reading as a team event and this team were brilliant.

“Every one of them played their part and the whole school is incredibly proud of them.”

The Kid’s Lit Quiz is an annual literature competition for children aged 10 to 13. Since it began in 1991 the quiz has spread across the world, with national competitions being held in New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

The national final was held at the City of London School and the atmosphere was tense as teams had to buzz in to give their answers.

The questions were challenging but Keswick School went into the lead after the third round.

With two more rounds to follow, and two other schools breathing down their necks with very close scores, Keswick held their nerve and became the UK champions.

And now they are off to New Zealand in July 2020 to represent the UK at the World Final.

Bertie summed up the experience saying: “There are seriously no words imaginable to describe or convey how I felt when we won. It was truly one of the best moments of my life.”

And Niamh added: “I can’t believe this is actually happening. When you get over the shock, you realise it’s real.”

Adrian admitted: “I’m still trying to get over the shock of winning; I didn’t expect it.”

And William agreed: “I don’t think this is really happening – we are going to New Zealand!”

The school will now be fundraising to meet the cost of the trip and would welcome sponsorship from any local businesses or donations from individuals.