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Sir Patrick Stewart inspires pupils

Published on 10/07/15

Being brave and believing in yourself were the key pieces of advice Sir Patrick Stewart gave to Orchard pupils at a recent meeting in North Bristol.

Being brave and believing in yourself were the key pieces of advice Sir Patrick Stewart gave to Orchard pupils at a recent meeting in North Bristol.

The Hollywood star – famous for his roles in Star Trek and X-Men – attended the Multi-Agency Networks (MANs) event, held at the Greenway Centre in Southmead, to watch the students put on a performance about their year as e-safety champions.

The pupils, ranging from Year 7 to Year 9, have spent this last academic year working alongside theatre group and educational provider Unique Voice, where they have picked up skills in helping other children with concerns about bullying and internet safety.

Those who attended the MANs meeting were Molly Vowles, Maisie Walsh, Thomas France Liva, Hanna O'Reilly, Louis Duplessis, Skie Louise Lyons, Lead Araujo, Emily Holbook and Oumie Sowe.

Patrick – who is patron of Unique Voice – commended the children for their outstanding, and also comical, performance, which they produced the script for themselves.

He was particularly moved by the speech that Skie gave, regarding the reward she received from Unique Voice for her dedication to helping others learn about right and wrong, whilst being a strong friend.

She told Patrick: “It makes me feel good when people come to us for help, as it’s a lot easier for us to understand them, than older people. Being e-safety champions has given us a lot of confidence.”

Patrick gave an inspiring and moving speech to the students, and the rest of those attending the meeting, where he spoke about his experience of domestic violence as a young boy.

He said that acting for him was a way of escapism, and thanked his English teacher for believing, and inspiring him to go to drama school.  

“Without my English teacher, I would not be standing here today,” Patrick explained. “I took everything he taught me to drama school.”

Patrick said that theatre provided him with a “safe zone”, and he felt that he’d “come home” when he took to the stage.

He also spoke highly of Unique Voice for their fantastic work in schools throughout Bristol, and for playing such an influential role in young people’s lives.

Following Patrick’s speech, he sat with the children and gave them an opportunity to ask him questions.

He also asked the pupils about how they feel about being e-safety champions.

Leah replied: “It gives us a purpose. I’m proud to have the job as e-safety champion and have someone that trusts us.”

Patrick’s advice to the e-safety champions was to trust in their own individual instincts and to speak with their own voice in all aspects of life.

He said that “self belief” is hugely important, with his final words being “be brave”.