Who can forget the frustration of trying to get all the Rubik’s Cube colours to match up before hurling it into the bin . . . not the case for Marlborough student Charlotte Cooper who is the fastest female in the country.

Seventeen seconds is her fastest official time in competitions but Charlotte, 21, whose parents Anne and Tim live in Kingsbury Street, said that in practice she has completed one in just over seven seconds.

Three weeks ago she took part in the world championships held in Germany but said she was not up among the medal winners because she was out of practice, having taken time out to attend a grandparent’s funeral in France.

She holds five UK records for different puzzles, is the fastest female in Britain when it comes to solving the Rubik’s Cube, the third fastest in Europe and believes she may be among the top ten fastest women in the world. That’s not bad because Charlotte, who is studying English at Bristol University, has not always been a Rubik’s record breaker and as a child was as frustrated with the thing as most people are.

She was a young child when she was first introduced to the confounding contraption invented by the Hungarian architect and puzzle designer Erno Rubik whose other testing challenges include Rubik’s Snake and the very latest Rubik 360, a spherical puzzle.

“I always had puzzles around me as a child. I was into fiddly things like yo-yos,” she said.

“When I was little my mother took me into Hamley’s toy shop in London and said I could have anything within reason and what I wanted was a Rubik’s Cube.”

A relative taught Charlotte how to do one face of the six-sided puzzle but, said the student, she never managed to complete all of them.

It was only when she left St John’s School in Marlborough, where among her other achievements she learned four languages, and was at university that Charlotte and a friend decided to work out how to solve the Rubik’s Cube during their holidays “for something to do”.

She said it is all to do with algorithms, a rule for solving a mathematical problem in a finite number of steps. In other words the cube can be solved mathematically and on the Internet there are scores of suggestions of how to do it.

Charlotte said her passion for the cube will not change her ambition to become a writer after she gets her degree.

“I would do it professionally if I could but unfortunately there are hundreds of Rubik’s cubers around the world who want to do the same and there just aren’t enough sponsors.”