Perse Anti-Bullying Ambassador has surprise virtual audience with HRH The Duke of Cambridge
27 Nov 2020
Jude Bedford (Lower Sixth) had a right royal surprise when he took part in an online call with fellow Anti-Bullying Ambassadors (ABAs) – a virtual chat with HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
The Perse student was one of just four ABAs to have a very special Zoom audience with HRH The Duke of Cambridge, who expressed his admiration for their efforts and listened to their reflections as part of Anti-Bullying Week. He is a supporter of young people’s charity The Diana Award – named in memory of his late mother – which runs the ABA programme.
A member of the ABA national youth board, Jude admitted being amazed when HRH The Duke of Cambridge entered the half-hour video call.
He said: “We hadn’t been told about it, so when Prince William appeared on the screen, I didn’t have much to say apart from ‘wow!’ It was totally unexpected and very cool. His Royal Highness spoke very nicely and sincerely and it was very comforting to know he is on board with this issue.
“It wasn’t particularly formal. It was just a conversation and that’s what made it quite comfortable. We opened up about ourselves and he listened, as well as adding his own input into our stories – to have the opportunity to speak up about our experiences like that was quite empowering.”
We can’t be together in person for #AntiBullyingWeek this year, so we're delighted HRH Prince William surprised a group of @AntiBullyingPro Ambassadors virtually yesterday to discuss how they are tackling bullying and protecting the wellbeing of their peers @KensingtonRoyal pic.twitter.com/Hs0WWDiWfJ
— The Diana Award (@DianaAward) November 20, 2020
Jude outlined how he had become an ABA in Year 7 after being diagnosed with anxiety following on from his own experiences.
He said: “When I heard there was an ABA programme starting in the school, I felt I had nothing to lose. That’s when I started talking about my mental health and I thought if I could teach someone through my own experience, then maybe I could help others.
“Within the school, the ABAs plan events to promote healthy relationships and mental health, but it’s also about having someone who can be a designated ‘hand-on-shoulder’ just to be there for others. If someone is going through something, they can always be in touch with us. Especially among children, it’s quite hard for them to go to an adult, so it’s good for them to have a peer who is approachable and we aim to have at least one ABA in each form.”
Jude explained that ABAs are given training to help spot signs of bullying and appropriate and effective ways to combat it, but also to recognise when an issue should be dealt with by a member of pastoral care staff.
He added: “Bullying needs to be dealt with all year round, but to have an Anti-Bullying Week designated to raising awareness of the issue is really good. It’s a time when we can share our stories and report facts and figures that show how prevalent bullying is nationally and what is being done about it.”