City student wins award with eco-friendly cardboard festival tent

Lily-Mai Spinks, a year 12 student from Sir Isaac Newton, won the senior engineering category at The Big Bang UK finals.

Lily-Mai Spinks, a year 12 student from Sir Isaac Newton, won the senior engineering category in the finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition. - Credit: HROC PR Ltd

A 17-year-old Norwich student has won a national engineering award for her eco-friendly cardboard tent, designed for use at music festivals.

Lily-Mai Spinks, a year 12 pupil at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, was inspired to come up with the idea after seeing images of fields of tents left behind by revellers at major music events, like Glastonbury.

Her ISOPOD - a waterproof, folding tent made from cardboard - won the senior engineering award at the Big Bang Fair.

Hundreds of people submitted projects to The Big Bang Competition, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Hundreds of people submitted projects to The Big Bang Competition, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. - Credit: HROC PR Ltd

The design can biodegrade quickly or be recycled. By contrast, many tents left behind at festivals end up in landfill.

The issue has become an area of growing concern in recent years, with thousands of traditional tents - which are plastic-based and can take thousands of years to biodegrade - abandoned at the end of summer music events.

The teenager, who lives in Norwich, came up with her design after folding paper in various ways, until it created dome shape she was looking for.

Lily-Mai Spinks with a prototype of her winning design, ISOPOD.

Lily-Mai Spinks with a prototype of her winning design, ISOPOD. - Credit: HROC PR Ltd

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers competition aims to recognise and reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

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Lily-Mai won £750, as well as a trophy and certificate.

"I’m really proud to have won this award," she said.

"I would encourage people to enter the competition as I did just on the off chance maybe it might go somewhere and now I’m a winner.

Lily-Mai Spinks won £750 in prize money to continue her STEM journey.

Lily-Mai Spinks won £750 in prize money to continue her STEM journey. - Credit: HROC PR Ltd

"It’s a really good experience and I enjoyed the whole process – the judging and attending - it’s been really nice to speak to people who have that common interest of engineering and science."

Organisers said Lily-Mai's design aimed to "provide a user and eco-friendly festival camping alternative".

Lily-Mai was presented with her award at the Big Bang Fair, at Birmingham's NEC, last week.

Lili-Mai Spinks' winning design was called ISOPOD.

Lili-Mai Spinks' winning design was called ISOPOD. - Credit: HROC PR Ltd