A Northern Ireland teenager has won a UK wide competition for young engineers.

Colum McNally became Young Engineer of the Year for his “world changing” agricultural machine designed to eliminate farming accidents.

Colum, from Newry, designed and built an extremely safe and low-cost hydraulically operated agricultural machine, which combines log splitting and fence building.

Typically these tasks require two machines, which are extremely dangerous to operate.

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Colum McNally with his invention

In Northern Ireland alone one farmer dies every month from agricultural-related injuries, according to the competition organisers.

Colum said his agri-hammer aims to become an economically viable product that “takes the safety off the farmers’ hands rather than taking the hands off the farmers”.

“I’m very happy to have won, it’s a fantastic feeling. I’m really proud of all the work that’s gone in to my project over the last year and it’s brilliant to have that recognised.

“I’ve been involved in engineering from a young age on the farm, just building bits and pieces as we needed them, and it’s amazing to think it’s taken me this far.”

The awards were announced at the Big Bang UK Young Scientist & Engineers Fair at the NEC in Birmingham by a panel of top judges.

Sarah Sobka, 17, from Sheffield was named Young Scientist of the Year.

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