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Monday, 20 October 2014

Ulverston student's health app design become reality

A TEENAGER is set to make his mark around the globe after designing an addictive new app to warn people of the dangers of smoking.

Harry Tate’s innovative game app “Healthrunner” is now available to be downloaded onto the iPhones and iPads of children the world over.

The Year 8 pupil at Ulverston Victoria High School saw his idea turned into a fully functional app when he beat hundreds of entrants to win a county-wide competition.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust launched the competition last year as part of a plan to get children more involved in promoting healthy living.

Thirteen-year-old Harry, of Urswick, said he designed the app to encourage some of his nearest and dearest to quit the damaging habit.

In the game, the player’s on screen character earns points each time they successfully avoid cigarettes by using the jump or duck controls.

“I was really, really happy – I wasn’t expecting to win,” he said. “Some of my family members smoke and I thought it was a good idea as a lot of people don’t realise it is so dangerous.”

Harry, who was presented with a certificate acknowledging his win at an assembly yesterday, said his success could lead to a career in app development.

“That would be really good,” he said.

Cumbria Partnership chairman Mike Taylor said he was delighted at the enthusiasm the county’s children had shown for the competition.

Entries received addressed a wide range of challenges facing society, including bullying, racism, drugs, alcohol and obesity.

“Every kid has a phone now – it’s a way of life,” Mr Taylor said. “The problem with smoking is that there is still this perception that it’s a sophisticated thing but it’s not, it’s really dangerous and we have to get that across.”

UVHS acting co-ordinator of citizenship, Sharon Birch, said Harry’s success was a credit to not just himself but the school’s information technology programme.

“We are a technological school and we have numerous computers suites for the children to learn on,” she said.

“So a lot of the IT skills were already there and it was great to be able to develop them further through this competition.”

Cumbria Partnership’s e-communications officer Kate Norman said the judges were impressed by the simple fun offered by Harry’s Healthrunner app.

“There were lots of wonderful ideas put forward, but the judges were after something that would be really fun,” she said.

“We’re going to wait until we have some feedback on the app and then do a second version that takes in more ideas from young people around the county.”

To play the app, visit www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/healthrunner-game.htm.

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