World’s first good news centre in tribute to ex-student and top UK journalist Jill Dando to celebrate 5th birthday today  

By Oliver, 12, Jill Dando News

A world unique good news centre is celebrating its 5th birthday today.

Jill Dando News is to celebrate 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.

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 Jill’s old school, Worle Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

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. She is pictured here in November last year live on GMB on ITV representing UK’s young people at COP26 along with Sir David Attenborough and Prince William.

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Since then, reporters have interviewed the Prime Minister three times, including in Downing Street in front of the world’s TV cameras. They made history by becoming the first journalists of any age to interview Boris Johnson in Downing Street.

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

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Olivia, 17, now at the King Alfred School Academy, is now planning to study Medicine at Oxford University, said: “Jill Dando News has given me huge confidence and has prepared me to be able to talk to so many different types of people.”

Josh Keyes, Aimee Braithwaite and dozens from schools in The Priory Learning Trust will also be speaking at the event, along with Jill’s brother Nigel and other guests.

Olivia added: “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’.”

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