WEST Dorset youngsters are supporting a national campaign to get more children to wear cycle helmets.

Last year pupils of St Mary’s School in Bridport were stunned when MP Oliver Letwin said he wouldn’t support their plea for the compulsory wearing of helmets for children.

Maisy Attrill, from Burton Bradstock, who sent a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and subsequently visited the House of Commons, is starting a blog and responding to critics who say making helmets compulsory changes cycling from a ‘cheap’ sport. She said: “It’s not that cheap a sport if you have to pay for all the hospital costs from not wearing a helmet,”

St Mary’s class teacher Julie Kingston is involving pupils in the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust’s campaign which claims a child cyclist is three times more likely to be killed in an accident than an adult.

Now the charity wants children to design their own Lazer bicycle helmet – and the winning entry will be manufactured and given to disadvantaged youngsters across the UK.

Angela Lee, chief executive and founder of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, said: “Wearing a helmet has been shown to reduce head injuries by up to 88 per cent, but only a meagre 17 per cent of children wear one.”

The competition is open to all primary schools across the UK.

To register your interest visit the sponsor’s website at wd40.co.uk Mrs Kingston added that children in Year Five who complete the annual cycling proficiency course are now firm believers in wearing helmets.

“They saw what happens if you drop an egg without a helmet and with one. That made them think.

“They have also designed a poster and put it up around the school to warn other children they should be wearing their helmets,” she said.