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Mearns Academy pupils invited to London to discuss anti-knife crime school project

From left to right: Mearns Academy pupils Logan Forbes, Jessica Murdoch, Ellen Smith, radio DJ Mickey Beans, Niamh Harris, Aimee Macdonald and April Barham
From left to right: Mearns Academy pupils Logan Forbes, Jessica Murdoch, Ellen Smith, radio DJ Mickey Beans, Niamh Harris, Aimee Macdonald and April Barham

A group of girls from an Aberdeenshire academy have returned from a trip to London, where they were invited to speak about their school project on knife crime.

The six young pupils from Mearns Academy, Laurencekirk, all either 13 or 14 years old, were tasked with creating some persuasive writing in their English class, and chose the topic of knife crime as their “world problem” to tackle.

In addition to working on the project in the classroom, they also decided to start a social media account to spread the word – and their online efforts were so successful they even drew the attention of celebrated Scottish author Ian Rankin.

Their movement attracted so much traction on the internet that last week, the six young women were invited by London -based radio DJ and musician Mickey Beans of Boogaloo Radio to talk about their efforts to warn youngsters of the dangers of carrying blades.

Their teacher Emma Myatt said the girls, Ellen Smith, Logan Forbes, Aimee Macdonald, Jessica Murdoch, Niamh Harris and April Barham, had returned from their adventure “energised” and “full of knowledge about the power of words”.

Aimee, 14, said: “The interview was an amazing experience for us.

“We were in the studio for two hours chatting on the radio, and she made us feel relaxed about the whole thing.”

Logan, also 14, added: “Knife crime is one of the biggest threats in the UK and we had seen a lot in the news and online about vicious attacks.

“We wanted to try and help and spread awareness, but never expected to come this far.”

Ms Myatt said: “They’re all 14 or 13 years old, and getting to do something like this at that age can really be an amazing thing for your self-confidence, and I’m just so pleased they took this opportunity.

“We are all really proud of the girls, particularly because they essentially achieved all of this completely on their own.

“The best thing I believe you can do as an English teacher is show kids that words have power, and I really hope this experience has helped to teach them that.”

To find out more about the project, visit the website www.instagram.com and search for “helpstopknifecrime”.

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