The election race was hotting up at Black Combe School at Millom in April 1997 as the three main parties prepared to battle it out.

The school was holding its own election - in conjunction with the BBC's Newsround programme - with all three main parties represented by ten and 11-year-old pupils.

The Conservative candidate was Gary Stewart, with Sara Pennington as his advisor. Labour was represented by Stephanie Bailey, 11, of Fairfield Road, with advisor Laura Cloudsdale and Daisy Clark helping the Labour campaign team.

The Liberal Democrat candidate was Emma Quinn with Thomas Fretter as advisor.

The youngsters had all been busy with their campaigns, carrying out daily opinion polls in the playground and drawing on the expertise of local politicians.

The Conservative team pounced on Tory parliamentary candidate Andrew Cumpsty in Millom, while Stephanie got her advice from Millom mayor Roland Woodward - a Labour candidate in the county elections.

The Labour team even spoke to Tony Blair's secretary, who sent them a copy of the party's election manifesto.

And the Lib Dems had been receiving advice from Liberal Democrat agent Roger Singleton, who was working for parliamentary candidate Roger Putney.

The children took part in speeches, debates, radio broadcasts and making videos.

The children came up with their own ideas relating to the school, which they outlined in front of their fellow pupils.

Labour pledged to introduce more school discos. The Conservatives wanted to put a picnic area in the grounds for the summer time and the Liberal Democrats wanted the school to have an indoor swimming pool.

Teacher Gillian Hartley said: "It was very good and the children gave each leader a tough time asking hard questions - they were very astute."

Labour was victorious in the school election, with 100 votes cast for the party, 87 for the Conservatives and 17 for the Lib Dems.