A schoolgirl from Altrincham has been awarded a poetry prize from Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and education campaigner was the special guest at the prizegiving ceremony at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition presented awards to language-loving pupils across the country who have combined their foreign language skills with their poetry talents.

Srishti Kochar, 17, from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls picked up an award from Malala Yousafzai for her poem written and performed in Spanish.

Malala, who was nearly murdered by Taliban gunmen in 2012 for her activism, celebrated the diverse range of languages spoken in the city-region.

She said: "I am honoured to be here and I would like to congratulate everyone who participated in this initiative and who wrote poetry in their mother tongue and also in other languages they are learning.

"Well done to all those getting prizes today for their achievements."

Malala explained how being born in Pakistan, she grew up typically trilingual, speaking the Pashto of her native Swat Valley as well as Pakistan's national language Urdu and the English of official Government business.

Malala said: "When I came to the UK I realised how they are trying to create this multicultural environment and how learning a new language allows students and people to appreciate and celebrate diversity.

"When you are learning another language, you learn to think in that language, you learn to speak in that language and you learn to believe in that language and it allows you to think from a completely different perspective.

"It's not just about the words and the grammar but the culture and the language it is associated with.

"It's a skill - a talent - and I hope those of you learning a new language continue to do so because the more you learn, the broader your mind becomes and allows you to think big."

A diverse range of languages were on show at the prize giving ceremony, including Spanish, French, Italian, Urdu, Chinese, Catalan, Greek and Persian.

More than 30,000 pupils have taken part since the innovative challenge was launched in 2012.

The contest is endorsed by the poet laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who is a Professor of Contemporary Poetry and Creative Director of the University’s Manchester Writing School and developed Mother Tongue Other Tongue as a Laureate Education project.

Professor Sharon Handley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “I was delighted to welcome Malala Yousafzai to Manchester Metropolitan for this year’s national Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition.

"She is an inspirational role model to young people across the world and a powerful advocate of the value of education.

“As the Director of Routes into Languages North West, I have always been passionate about encouraging young people to learn new languages, and proud that Manchester Metropolitan hosts this yearly celebration of cultural and linguistic diversity.

"It is especially apt that it began here in Manchester, one of the most multilingual cities in the world, where 40 per cent of children speak more than one language.

“I am always amazed by the quality of entries to the competition and this year was no exception. I want to thank all of the students who have taken part and the ambassadors and teachers for encouraging them to do so.”