South Scotland

School pupils secure Michelle Obama dinner date

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Media captionWhat would you do if you ruled Scotland?

Two school children have won the chance to attend a dinner with Michelle Obama in Edinburgh.

They submitted videos on the topic of "If I ruled Scotland" for the opportunity to go to the event.

Melissa Croft, 14, of Mearns Castle High School in East Renfrewshire and Cerys Gough, 14, of Langholm Academy in Dumfries and Galloway, won the places.

They were picked by organisers The Hunter Foundation as winners of the spots at the dinner next Tuesday.

Cerys' video focused on bullying and prejudice, while Melissa's film was about child poverty in Scotland.

Image caption Cerys Gough said she was "excited and nervous" about the dinner

The Langholm Academy pupil told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme she was "excited and nervous" about the dinner with someone she admired so much.

"She's really inspirational because she was the first African American first lady," she said.

"She has focussed a lot on getting girls into school across the world - she just inspires me a lot."

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Image caption Michelle Obama will be in Edinburgh on 17 July
Image caption Cerys' video focused on bullying and prejudice

Her mother, Maureen Smith, who will also be attending the dinner, said they were looking forward to the event.

She said: "It is really exciting - we were in the shops when they called and Cerys was cool as a cucumber and said: 'I'm going to dinner with Michelle Obama next week.'

"I got a little bit emotional and then started panicking about what we were all going to wear.

"She gets to take five of her school friends and one of her teachers so they are all super excited as well."

'Powerful voice'

The former first lady is following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who also hosted a dinner with the foundation at the EICC last year.

He had played a round of golf on the Old Course at St Andrews earlier in the day with Sir Tom.

Sir Tom Hunter said: "What all these submissions showed us was that our young people have a strong, powerful voice on diverse but consistent themes from pollution to education, poverty to ambition and it's about time we listened a lot more to them.

"As one entrant said in their submission - 'We are the future of Scotland' - this is absolutely right and we need to not just listen a lot more to their voice but act upon it too."