A CARING schoolgirl has taken a primary school’s environmental campaign to Scotland’s First Minister.

Ellie McIntyre champions Longniddry Primary School’s Bubbles Beat Balloons campaign, which encourages people to blow eco-friendly bubbles as an alternative to releasing balloons at public celebrations or tribute events.

The youngster wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who invited the eight-year-old to the Scottish Parliament to discuss the scheme further.

The P4 pupil received a letter from Ms Sturgeon’s office highlighting the importance of young people being involved in developing initiatives and taking them forward.

Ellie, who lives in Tranent, said: “It was exciting to meet Nicola Sturgeon and she let me have a selfie with her.

“I was happy she was able to sign our pledge.”

The youngster was joined at Holyrood by her mum Pauline, as well as her class teacher Yvonne Hart.

The group were given a tour of the building, before meeting Ms Sturgeon and sitting in at First Minister’s Questions. Ellie took a framed campaign certificate and Ms Sturgeon signed the ‘Bubbles Beat Balloons’ pledge.

Miss Hart added: “The First Minister was clearly impressed by Ellie and was keen to sign our campaign.

“For her to make time in her busy schedule like this was amazing!”

The environmental campaign was launched by the school, which is home to 199 pupils, last summer.

After participating in a One Planet One Future project and watching the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 programme – which highlighted the devastating impact of plastic on wildlife and nature – the pupils decided to take action.

The children learnt that mass balloon releases were often used when celebrating events or for remembering loved ones. So they decided the much-loved children’s pastime of blowing bubbles was a much more environmentally friendly way of marking special events instead of polluting the planet with latex balloons.

The initiative has already been backed by the Marine Conservation Society, as well as East Lothian Council’s Countryside Ranger Service.

Pupils at the school have delivered presentations to local community councillors while a number of local businesses and organisations have signed up to the Bubbles Beat Balloons pledge.

The campaign was part of the school’s work towards achieving gold status as a Rights Respecting School. Longniddry is the only primary school in East Lothian to hold Gold Right Respecting Schools status.

The UNICEF UK award recognises the school’s work embedding children’s rights in its policy, practices and culture.

Sheona Skinner, headteacher, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Ellie using her pupil voice to continue our school’s campaign. Having the First Minister’s support has widened awareness of the initiative and will hopefully encourage more people to become involved. It was a special occasion for Ellie and for everyone involved in Longniddry Primary School.”