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Mayor's Blog: Our young people

Date: 7 March 2024
Author: Councillor Suzette Nicholson
Title: Mayor of Richmond upon Thames

Recently, I have found myself attending events that are celebrating our young people. Parents and carers, teachers, and other professionals, saying how wonderful these youngsters are in many ways. Best of all though is seeing and hearing from the children and young people themselves.

Richmond and Kingston Youth Services had a Youth Awards evening on Friday 23 of February, which celebrated young people's achievements. A 'well done' to the announcers who hosted the evening! A huge achievement for one young person might only be a small step for another who can mount a staircase of achievement easily. Of course, several small steps mean you can complete the whole staircase anyway!
Then there was 'Battle of the Bands' held at The Exchange in Twickenham by the charity, The Basement Door. This was a fun evening featuring young bands with various talents. Also, a lot of skill was contributed by young people behind the scenes to make the evening go well.
Last Saturday I was pleased to be invited to Arts Richmond's Members Day. As well as hearing from the Chairs of various sections (yes, we could hear you Danny Wain) they had two guests. Absolutely delightful and talented harpists, Melanie and Meredith Hau gave us a splendid recital.
This week, I have been invited to Grey Court School where I am sure I will hear more talented young people who will be taking part in the regional final of the 'Speak Out Challenge'. This is made possible by the Jack Petchey Foundation working in partnership with Speakers Trust. I know I will envy them their ability!
Then follows the official opening of the Bu'sen Martial Arts and Sports Centre, where the practise of martial arts of various forms can give confidence and discipline to children. I think I am beyond these skills and will have to keep fit in other ways!
One of my favourite Mayoral engagements was attending Orleans Primary School. It was interesting to visit the school I had attended in the 1960s when it was an infant's school only. I was given a tour by the Headteacher, Ms du Parcq around the KS1 part of the building before attending their assembly. During the assembly one of the things, I mentioned was having a short rest after lunch when I first went to school. The murmurs of approval from the teachers made it seem something that could be brought back.

One of the rooms we visited I could see used to be the Headmistress's office and where a group of us used to go and read. Amongst my other memories was that at one end of the playground there was a pile of coal which was used in the boilers. The coal was crunchy if you climbed on it which of course you were not supposed to do!
The Orleans school badge has a swan with roses in its beak sitting on a mural crown. This is also part of the badge of the Mayoral Chain of Office of Richmond-upon-Thames which made a satisfying connection between my old school and my present role.

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Updated: 7 March 2024