A GROUP of eco-friendly youngsters have designed window blinds which colect solar power - and they could win £20,000 worth of equipment for their school.

The year seven pupils from Blakewater College, Blackburn, has beaten more than 100 entries from UK schools to be shortlisted for electrical retailer Comet's Green Gadget for the Future competition.

The 15 boys and girls from the Environmentally Friendly Group spent two months researching, discussing and designing a device that would use renewable energy.

And that resulted in their concept of a set of solar-absorbing, light powering blinds.

PC Eileen Smithson, the Shadsworth Road school's on-site police officer heads up the group as part of her work to engage with students.

PC Smithson said: "The group meets once a week and we look at issues such as littering and vandalism to our environment.

"I read about Comet's competition and thought it would be ideal, it asked year seven students to come up with an energy efficient gadget that could be used in every home within the next 50 years.

"The group were really enthusiastic from the start, and over the weeks they got really involved, working through breaks because they were enjoying themselves.

"I was really impressed with the ideas they came up with, especially because we only had two months to finish it.

"The only thing I did was give them some guidance on the original idea but then they did everything else."

The group split the work between them, with some researching how solar energy works, some looking at magazines for inspiration, and others looked at material for the blinds, donated by Accrington's Millennium Blinds.

The final design enables homeowners to harness energy from the sun to power lights in the home - such as security spotlights and night-lights for children - as well as the blinds themselves to help save energy.

The design is now up against ideas from four other shortlisted schools.

PC Smithson said: "I was ecstatic for the children. I think one reason we may have been picked was because their input was very obvious, all the drawings submitted were by them and they'd all written letters about what they'd done in the project."

Jason Bradbury from Channel Five's The Gadget Show, the Energy Saving Trust and Comet will all debate the final entries and crown one school the overall winner on December 10.

The best design will receive £20,000 worth of energy-efficient electrical equipment from Comet's Green Collection.

PC Smithson, who joined Blakewater in February 2006, said: "It will be fantastic to win obviously but I'm so proud of what the children have achieved, I'm taking them on a day trip to a farm to look at other environment issues, as a treat."