PREPARATION paid off for girls from Bexton Primary School, in Knutsford, when they claimed first place at a regional competition.

The students finished top of the class in the British Schools Gymnastics Association North West Championships after their routines as individuals on floor and vault, plus a group sequence, rated highest among judges at Preston.

Sophie Baldwin, Mia Platt and Emma Routs exceeded expectation to make theirs the under 11s title.

They were joined by another team from Bexton, consisting of Amber Founds, Saphia Hughes, Lucy Howarth and Mia Wheatley, that finished in fifth position.

It marked the first time any of the children, coached by Ruth Chapman of Egerton Youth Club-based Gymfinity Gymnastics, had competed at a major competition.