AN East Renfrewshire schoolgirl has won a contest to have dinner with Michelle Obama.

The former US First Lady will be speaking at an event organised by The Hunter Foundation next Tuesday.

Pupils were asked to submit a video on the theme ‘If I ruled Scotland, the one thing I’d change to enable more young people to succeed would be...’

And up for grabs was the chance to attend the dinner at the EICC, in Edinburgh.

Melissa Croft, 14, from Mearns Castle High School, focused on the topic of mental health and was returning from a sleepover with friends when she heard the news that her video was one of the winners.

She said: “I thought we already get dental check-ups every six months, so what if we got mental health check-ups every six months? 

“I know it’s hard for some young people to speak to their parents about mental health and they feel like they have no-one to talk to, even if it’s just something like stress around exams.

“I thought that, if everyone had access to a professional, they might be able to talk more.

“When I was making the video, I didn’t really enter to win. I know a lot of my friends are struggling and I wanted to get the word out.

“I thought someone might see the video and realise this is a problem that needs to be sorted.

“I was very surprised to win but I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait to go. I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Melissa, from Newton Mearns, will be given a table for 10 at the dinner and will be taking an accompanying adult, as well as some of her friends.

Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, who set up The Hunter Foundation, said: “What these submissions show is that our young people have a strong voice on diverse but consistent themes, from pollution to education and from 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.

“We need to not just listen a lot more to their voice but act upon it too.”