A GRANGE-over-Sands teenager has described a day shadowing a baroness at the House of Lords as "inspiring".

Jessica Walmsley, 17, was one of 60 Girlguides chosen to take part in the trip celebrating the 60th anniversary of women first taking their red-leather seats in the Lords.

On the day Jessica, a member of Kirkby Lonsdale Rangers, was paired up with Labour peer Baroness Crawley. They "found a connection" through their love of theatre, with the baroness having been a drama teacher, and Jessica recently playing Hero in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at Cartmel Priory.

The baroness gave the A-level student a tour of her favourite rooms at the Palace of Westminster and shared stories about famous visitors from Barack Obama to the King of the Netherlands.

The 60 Girlguides from across the country also listened to a live debate during their visit, timed to celebrate 60 years of the Life Peerages Act. Among those in the lavishly decorated chamber was Floella Benjamin, the BBC Play School presenter turned baroness and Lib Dem peer.

"Being able to visit the House of Lords proved to me women are starting to be respected as equals," said Jessica, who attends Kendal's Queen Katherine School.

"Watching the live debate and seeing women of all ethnicities standing up for their beliefs and asking how women will be considered in committee selections was inspiring.

"However, there was still an overriding population of men; possibly only one quarter of those in the chamber were women. I would love to return in 10 years and see an equal split of gender, ethnicity and class coming together to collaborate all experiences and opinions to make informed judgments on matters of today."

The philosophy, history and English student added: "To me, what was most amazing was being surrounded by 60 Girlguides all sharing the ideology of making a change for the better in this country, all having the confidence to speak up and let our voices be heard. We were a community of young women who together have the strength, determination and will to alter the political dynamics."