A Three Towns schoolgirl has qualified to represent Scotland at the World Irish Dancing Championships in America.

Olivia Small, 11, has been training six days a week in preparation for the international event next month.

Olivia, who trains with Sarah Frances Smith School of Irish Dance, is one of five dancers in Scotland who have been selected to compete at the event in North Carolina.

The St Anthony’s Primary pupil qualified for last year’s championships but had to pull out due to injury, so she is more determined than ever.

Olivia’s mum Claire said: “She can’t wait. We’re delighted for her. She’s found something that she loves, and she’s met numerous new friends from all over.

“It’s amazing the work and the dedication the kids put in. There is the fun side [to the dancing] but what it does for them as individuals, their confidence, is amazing. They can be quite socially awkward at that age, but Olivia’s had to come out her shell by mixing with other people.

“Olivia qualified for the world’s which was held in Glasgow last year too but sadly broke her foot training at class five days before she was due to compete. She spent seven weeks in a boot before competing at the North American national’s where she got a fantastic result.

“You can’t qualify until you’re 10 so she’s had two chances and been successful both times. We’re keeping everything crossed that’s she can get there injury-free this time.

“Thanks to Melbourne Fry and Ardrossan and Dalry Celtic Supporters Club for their support, and thanks to Connolly’s in Glasgow who are sponsoring the girls. A huge thanks from Olivia and I to Sarah Frances, her dance teacher, for all her hard work. Olivia couldn’t have done it without her.”