Smiles, cakes and good news as unique Jill Dando News celebrates its 5th birthday

Smiles, cakes and good news as unique Jill Dando News celebrates its 5th birthday

By Oliver, 12, Jill Dando News

Jill Dando News have celebrated five years of children and young people finding and writing good news in Jill’s memory.

Since its beginnings, well over 100 young people across many schools have been writing good news to cheer up the world, and train up positive journalists of the future. It even opened up its first centre in Malawi, Africa.

Today Jill’s brother Nigel and fellow patron Emma Britton, both ex BBC, joined dozens of students aged 9 to 18 for a celebration at Jill’s old school, Worle Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

The initiative was started at The Priory Learning Trust and students at schools across the Trust today gave presentations on their good news work.

In the same room where Jill starred in school productions, students and staff heard the presentations. There were special Jill Dando cakes made for the occasion.

Nigel said: “It’s quite remarkable what has happened at Jill Dando News in five years. The amount of interviews students have achieved include prime ministers, a NASA astronaut and more.


“Their stories are real stories for real Media which have appeared in publications across the UK and beyond.”

Emma said: “Positive news is good for us all and that’s why the Jill Dando News reporters are doing such a brilliant job.”

In 1999, 37 year old, Jill Dando was BBC TV’s Golden Girl, the kind and smiling face of Britain, loved by millions.

In that same year on April 26th her life was tragically cut short but her memory lives on through a fantastic initiative started at WCSA.

In 2017, students started Jill Dando News as a lasting and expanding tribute to her refreshingly positive style of journalism.

Olivia Finch, at aged 12 years old became the first Jill Dando reporter along with Joshua Keyes, who was 11.

Since then, reporters have interviewed the Prime Minister three times, including in Downing Street in front of the world’s TV cameras.


They have also interviewed Fiona Bruce, a NASA astronaut, and written hundreds of positive stories in Jill’s style.


Olivia, 17, now at the King Alfred School Academy, said: “Everyone who knew Jill mentioned that she always had a beaming smile on her face, and all the students at Jill Dando News try to adopt this.

“We focus on good news to remember what she was like and what she did. She was the smiling face of Great Britain’.”

To see the interviews visit

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