Dozens of pupils have celebrated the launch of the latest Jill Dando News Centre at their school this week.

Popular radio presenter Emma Britton from BBC Bristol was the special guest when dozens of young Jill Dando reporters launched the new centre at Pawlett Primary School Academy (PPSA) near Bridgwater.

Reporters aged 9 to 15 heard a talk from Emma and then carried out story-writing workshops helped by professional journalists and photo-journalists.

They also officially opened the expansion of Jill’s garden out of Weston-super-Mare town centre into the Pawlett school grounds, with seven apple trees donated by Sanders Garden Centre.

The Jill Dando News Centre initiative was started at Jill’s old school Worle Community School Academy in 2017 and has spread to other schools in The Priory Learning Trust and also to Malawi. The aim is to train children to find and write stories in Jill’s style, which then go into the Media and Social Media – filling people’s minds with positive news.

Emma Britton told “I really love good news, and Jill Dando centres are full of positive and inspiring stories. Well done to all of the children who have helped to get this off the ground in Jill’s memory.”

Olivia Finch, 15, who has been a Jill Dando reporter at WCSA for three years since the project started, added: “It was an amazing event. It was great to get the opportunity to meet with Emma where she gave us all some really inspiring words about being a journalist and gave us tips on how to source out the best stories.”

Aimee Braithwaite, 14, a reporter of two years, said: “It was a fantastic day and can’t wait for future events. It was amazing to speak to Emma from the BBC and learn some of her top tips in journalism.”

And Dawson Panter-Wray, 12, said: “It was amazing to see so many other Jill Dando news students together, and especially getting to meet Emma Britton, allowing even more young people to be able to spread good news stories!”

Pawlett currently has 56 pupils, is over 200 years old and is situated in picturesque green surroundings.

Headteacher Emma Barker said: “Our pupils are so so excited at our Jill Dando News Centre. We can’t wait to see the stories.”

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