A TEENAGE technology whizz will be whisked off to Silicon Valley after winning a global coding contest run by Google.

Freddie Nicholson said he was 'honoured' to become one of just six UK youngsters to be crowned coder of the year by the search engine giant, earning a trip to its headquarters in California.

The 16-year-old, who lives in Oxford, was named a 'grand prize winner' in Google's annual Code-In competition, which attracted 3,124 entrants from 77 different countries.

Abingdon School student Freddie said: "When the email arrived at 5am in the morning, saying I was a grand prize winner, I couldn’t believe it.

"Being chosen is an honour, as Google sets tough criteria."

He dedicated his bus rides into school to tackling the tasks, and was one of 54 youngsters worldwide to secure the top prize.

In total the UK had six grand prize winners, behind India which topped the table with 18 and the USA with nine.

The Code-In sees entrants complete challenges during a seven-week period ending in December, ahead of winners being announced last week.

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Freddie said: "We had to show quality, creativity, thoroughness, complexity, and community involvement - all of which I knew I had tried to do, but I was unsure whether it was enough to match the excellent contributions from other students."

The contest is open to pre-university teenagers aged 13-17, who completed 15,323 coding tasks between them, working with 27 international organisations.

Freddie was one of two winners who worked with community-run software project Sugar Labs on projects including Music Blocks, a learning platform designed to teach younger children the basics of programming through musical concepts.

The teenager said: "The contest was challenging. As it’s my GCSE year, I had to make sure that I had a fair balance between my work and the coding - my bus trip to school became an intense daily coding session.

"When the contest was over, I felt happy about the work I’d put in, and it had been a great experience."

The grand prize winners receive a four-night, all expenses-paid trip to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, in June or July.

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Freddie said: "I can’t wait to go on the trip to Google HQ - I am definitely in for a treat.

"It will be an action-packed programme of activities around San Francisco. I look forward to finding out what working for Google is like and meeting some amazing people. It’s definitely not going to be a trip I forget."

Magdalen College School pupil Euan Ong was one of three UK Code-In winners in 2018.

Last year Abingdon School's James Hogge won £1,000 from GCHQ, winning the National Cipher Challenge coding contest.