COMPUTER science student and technology whizz Ieuan Higgs said he could not believe it when the Space Agency rang to say that he had won their satellite competition and would be walking away with £7,500.

The 20-year-old, who grew up in Chippenham and attended Hardenhuish School, entered the UK Space Agency's SatelLife Challenge to build a tool which would help improve life on Earth.

Mr Higgs, who attends the University of Reading, spent hours researching his idea which would allow scientists and developers to map changes over time in urban areas using historic satellite data.

"I was so surprised when they told me I had won," he said.

"I am really happy though as I said at the start of the year that I would like to make the most of my time while I am on placement.

"I came up with my idea of using satellite data to track changes over time after combining my knowledge of current space technology with my areas of interest in Computer Science - using both to form a realistic business solution I thought would be both useful and achievable."

"I've got my final year coming up next year so I am hoping that I will be able to focus on this idea and maybe build a prototype or something."

The 20-year-old, who competed with thousands of others for the cool £7,500 prize, will be putting the money towards creating his own business after he graduates.

"I can spend the money however I like but I've always wanted to own my own software development company, so I'll be keeping the money back," he added.

The SatelLife competition was split into three age groups, and seven other seven entries from across the board were also awarded £5,000.

The nine winning entries will now have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of dragons from the space sector to win prizes and support to help develop their engineering careers.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah, who backed the competition which complements the government's Year of Engineering campaign, said: “The UK leads the world in building satellites and we want to encourage young people like those entering this competition to get involved in every part of our thriving space sector.

“The creative use of data from space can solve many challenges and help establish successful businesses. It’s a vital part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to back the entrepreneurs of tomorrow as we build an economy that’s fit for the future.”