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

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

By Oliver, 12, Jill Dando News

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

Jill Dando News is to celebrate five years of children and young people finding and writing good news in Jill’s memory, on Thursday 7th July.

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. (photo below of computers being sent over from Jill Dando reporters)

Priory Community School Academy students, part of the Jill Dando News Centre

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

Jill Dando News Centre journalists in Malawi, Africa

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

Olivia, centre, with Jack, both from Jill Dando’s old school Worle Community School Academy

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.


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


They have also delivered their own pieces to BBC TV, and appeared live representing the UK on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

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.

Best-selling author Jeffrey Archer launches the Priory Community School Academy Jill Dando Centre, within half a mile from where Jill grew up.

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’.”

Nigel Dando does the first ever annual Jill Dando lecture

Numbers have expanded to over 100 students aged 8 to 18 in schools across The Priory Learning Trust.

The beginnings of the Jill Dando News Centre and the Good News Post in Jill's old school.

To see more interviews and stories from the Jill Dando news centre click

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