A SCHOOLGIRL from West Dorset has been crowned Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

Ele Saltmarsh, 17, pictured, scooped first prize in the Amnesty International Youth Awards, beating 7,000 entrants from across the UK.

The Woodroffe pupil, who lives in Wootton Fitzpaine, chose to write about the forced eviction of a Kenyan tribe.

She received her award from competition judge Charlie Blake at a ceremony in London today, Wednesday, April 30, which was hosted by Nick Bright from Radio 1Xtra.

Ele said: “I’m extremely surprised.

“I really never expected to win.

“I wrote about an issue which had a lot of immediacy in the news – forced evictions in Kenya.

“I was so shocked by the story that I wrote my piece immediately and managed to get it into Amnesty only four hours before the awards deadline. I hope the article will put pressure on the Kenyan government to put right the human rights violations in the country.”

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, added: “I thoroughly enjoy the Amnesty Youth Awards. It is so inspiring to see young people show such a passion and commitment for human rights. The quality of the writing has been simply outstanding.”