THANKS to a nifty device designed by a Monmouthshire schoolgirl, the problem of rapidly melting ice cream could be banished forever.

Rachael Boynton, 17, from Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls, has invented an insulated cone that keeps ice cream cool, enabling the consumer to eat at leisure on a hot summer's day.

Rachael's design has been entered in the Wales Student Innovation Awards 2001. If she is successful at the regional finals, she will go on to compete at the Grand Final in October.

"I came up with the idea while I was on holiday last summer," she explained. "It was very hot and the ice cream soon started to run down the sides of the cone and make a horrible mess."

"This design enables you to relax and enjoy your ice cream instead of rushing to eat it before it melts all over you."

Design and Technology teacher Peter Williams feels that his student has come up with a very marketable idea.

"It's a very useful product that answers a real need," he enthused.

Mr Williams is also impressed with the effort Rachael has put into this project.

"She's a very capable student and an excellent designer," he explained.

"She's not afraid to try things out to see what will work best."