TEENAGER Thomas Hearing has made a big bang in the world of science by winning a national award.

The Thomas Hardye pupil has scooped the UK Young Scientist of the Year title in the National Science and Engineering Competition in Manchester.

Thomas, aged 18, was handed the award by business secretary Peter Mandelson at the Big Bang Fair in the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Thomas said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to have won although it is still sinking in.

“My friends and family are very proud.”

Thomas lives with mum Jill, dad Trevor, brother Jamie, 15, and sister Francesca, 11, in Tincleton.

Thomas, who is due to read maths and earth sciences at Oxford University, said: “I didn’t go to the fair expecting to win. I went to see what it was be like.”

Some 346 competitors – 190 projects – exhibited at the three-day Big Bang Fair for the Young Scientist of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year titles.

Sixth former Thomas exhibited his work on coastal erosion at Monmouth beach near Lyme Regis.

He was then chosen as one of the final five to give a Dragons’ Den style presentation to judges before being named as the winner.

Thomas won £2,000 but will also be off to see the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma.

He also has the choice of a trip to Earth watch or Nasa.

Now Thomas is looking forward to his university course and a career in the sciences.

He said: “I am interested in seismology although that may change over time and during my university course.

“I think heading towards a research career in earth sciences.”