Mr Speaker quizzed by Jill Dando ‘good news’ journalists

Mr Speaker quizzed by Jill Dando ‘good news’ journalists

World Exclusive by Jill Dando News

Mr Speaker has been quizzed inside the House of Commons by Jill Dando ‘good news’ journalists

The brilliant Mr Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was this week interviewed in a world exclusive by Jill Dando Journalists inside the House of Commons.

Some 12 good news reporters aged 9 to 17 from across The Priory Learning Trust in Somerset asked him a range of questions on his favourite superhero, mental health and kindness, who he would love to meet, his top tips on success and happiness, his favourite animal and many more.

Ben, 13, Oscar, 13 and Oliver, 13 from Jill Dando’s former school Worle Community School Academy, Somerset were part of the team where the Jill Dando News project began in 2017 in memory of Jill.

Also interviewing were Grace, 12, Amy, 14 and Evie, 12 from Priory Community School Academy, based a short talk from Jill Dando’s childhood home.

Rosie, 10, Rose, 10, and Lance, 10, attended from Castle Batch Primary School Academy while Dawson, 17, Emma, 17, and Freddy, 17 came from The King Alfred School Academy Sixth Form in Highbridge.

Jill Dando News journalists with the Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyland

Wearing eye-catching blue ‘Jill Dando News’ jackets, themed pads and pens, they first watched Mr Speaker in action with over 600 MPs from the exclusive Press Gallery with Andrew Marr, Laura Kuenssberg, Quentin Letts and other senior journalists, during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The students’ stories and videos will now be published on the Good News Post newspaper in the build up to the 25th anniversary of the death of Jill Dando on 26th April.

Sir Lindsay said: “I loved meeting the Jill Dando News reporters - their project of spreading positivity, good news and kindness is a vital message for our times.

“They were all brilliant and I enjoyed answering their many insightful questions.

“I hope their dream of training up one million Jill Dando News journalists comes to fruition.

The Jill Dando News ‘spreading of positivity and good news’ project started in 2017 inside Jill’s former school Worle School in Weston-super-Mare.

Professional journalists including Jill’s brother Nigel Dando, who has 48 years of reporting experience, help out with the training. Sophy Ridge of Sky News, Fiona Bruce of the BBC, Nick Ross and a host of other news and TV professionals have all met the students and passed on tips.

Word has since spread to hundreds of children aged 8 to 18 across schools in TPLT in Somerset - and also to Malawi, Africa.

The Jill Dando Journalists find, write and publish good news in the kind and positive style of Jill who died in 1999 outside her Fulham home.

Their stories first go to the Good News Post and onto the wider Media and social media.

In August 2019 the reporters became the first journalists of any age to interview the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson inside Downing Street.

Dawson, 17, of Jill Dando News interviews Mr Speaker

Dawson, now aged 17, who was part of that Downing Street interviewing team, this week also quizzed Mr Speaker, asking him who he would have liked to meet and why.

The Jill Dando News project has been backed by two Prime Ministers, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Cliff Richard, Alan Titchmarsh and countless others for its timely message in uncertain times.

In recent years there has been a massive increase in bad news, large scale addictions to social media and huge rises in adverse mental health conditions.

The Jill Dando News project aims to train up journalists who think and write positively, which it is hoped, will also make young people’s thinking more positive and boost mental health.

Jill Dando was one of the best possible role models as well as a most loved British TV journalist who became TV personality of the year in 1997 and who backed a host of charities and causes.

She rose from Worle Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset to the top of BBC News, the Queen of Prime Time TV, loved by millions yet staying humble.

As Jill’s expanding legacy, professional journalists from all types of Media are training up the children to find, write and post positive good news stories.

The project is non-political - just with a relentless passion to cheer up a struggling planet in need of good news.

Former Priory student, Alex Crowther, now 24, helped the Jill Dando News project began after Sir Richard Branson did a video message of encouragement to all 1300 students at this school telling them ‘all things are possible’. Alex is now one of Britain’s youngest football club board members at the ambitious Weston-super-Mare FC.

Olivia Finch, now 19, was the first ever Jill Dando Journalist aged 12 at Worle Academy and is now studying to be a Doctor at Bristol University. She delivered and presented her own BBC TV piece to Points West when she was only 13 on the 20th anniversary of Jill’s death, and hosted an interview with dozens of reporters on Zoom with Fiona Bruce during lockdown.

Joshua Keyes, now 18, started at Jill Dando News at Worle Academy when he was only 11. He is thriving in the world of journalism with a wealth of experience behind him.

Priory Academy student Elijah, now 14, caused a Twitter sensation and 360,000 views when he interviewed Boris Johnson when aged 9 while still at his primary school St Anne’s Church Academy in Weston-super-Mare. He made Page 2 of the Sun newspaper wearing his Jill Dando News jacket and the reporters made several UK national front pages.

Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose and his team helped secure this week’s interview in parliament, meeting the students at the entrance with a tour of the House of Commons.

Wells MP James Heappey helped out with securing the 2019 interview with Boris Johnson.

Jill Dando News was dreamed up by the Purple Sheep PR company. It aims to train up 1 million young people as Jill Dando Journalists by 2030.

It inspires and trains the children to have a positive ‘all things are possible’ attitude to life and to always act with kindness and humility.

Its patrons so far are Nigel Dando and Emma Britton.

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