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November 21, 2020

William hails youths for taking on online bullying

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P
Pa
November 21, 2020

LONDON: The Duke of Cambridge has praised the efforts of young people battling online bullying with a charity promoting the legacy of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

William said it was “heartbreaking” to hear how abuse over the internet had affected the lives of the teenage ambassadors from The Diana Award, when he spoke to the group to mark Anti-Bullying Week.

The Diana Award, set up in memory of the princess and her belief that young people have the power to change the world, has trained more than 35,000 young people as anti-bullying ambassadors working to help victims in schools and communities.

The duke surprised the young ambassadors by making an unannounced appearance on a video call to show his admiration for their work. He heard how they endured online abuse themselves before deciding to use their experiences to support their peers.

William said: “It’s just horrible and it’s very moving to hear you guys talk about how you want to help others and make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“That is the most important thing, that you realise this isn’t going to beat you and you want to make sure that others are not going to go through the same torment that you guys have gone through.

“But I’m just so sorry that you’ve experienced these circumstances and these bullies. It’s heartbreaking to hear how much of an impact it’s had on your schooling, your life, and things like that.

“Clearly you guys have all taken this on and beaten it, which is fantastic. Because it can – and, sadly it does – get on top of too many people and some of them can’t come through it.” Despite schools being closed for a large part of this year due to Covid-19, the charity’s anti-bullying ambassadors said abuse had just increasingly transferred online.

Rose Agnew, 14, from Warwick, Jude Bedford, 16, from Cambridge, Paige Keen, 14, from Norwich, and Isabel Broderick, 15, from the West Midlands, shared their experiences with the duke. They were invited to join a video conversation on Thursday but had no idea it would be with the future king. “No way, no way,” Rose screamed in delight.

Laughing, William responded: “Well at least one of you recognised me. The other three are not quite sure…”

Rose, who has been targeted by racism and other types of bullying and saw her school work badly affected, told William why she had become an ambassador. “I joined the Diana Award and applied because I know what it’s like to be bullied and that’s a feeling that I want to try and prevent as many people from having as possible,” she said.