Girls’ big Diana day
5:30am Tuesday 15th July 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
YOUNG anti-bullying campaigners Olivia Tuck and Rhiannon Davies have been rewarded for their hard work with a Princess Diana Award.
The two teenagers from Ridgeway School have been giving talks to classes in their school about accepting others no matter what their differences.
Teachers nominated the girls for the award and, having been announced as winners, they travelled to London to pick up their prize.
Both girls said they were delighted at winning the award as it showed they were making a difference.
Olivia, 17, said: “We are both really proud and to us it shows the impact of what we have been doing has had on other people’s lives.
“We both have Aspergers and both suffered serious bullying when we were younger. During the talks we tell everyone about our experiences and what we went through.
“The talks are quite uncomfortable but it is important that we talk about these issues. ‘You never know what someone else is going through’ is the message we are trying to get across.
“I used to keep my diagnosis to myself, but now I’m open about it, which not only helps me but also others.”
The pair, who are best friends, have spoken with all classes in Year 10 and some in other years. Despite both having a passion for performing arts, they admit to finding the talks nerve-wracking.
Rhiannon, 15, said: “When you are in a play you are in character and have a script but during these talks we are just being ourselves.
“I talk about some of the serious effects bullying had on me. It is certainly having an impact. There was one student who wasn’t being too kind to one of my friends who also has Aspergers. The talk really affected him and things have been much better since then. It is nice to be able to help people in this way.”
Both the students use the Pit Stop facility at Ridgeway, which is a place for those with autism, Aspergers or who are vulnerable, to go when they need a break.
Sherralyn Gower, who runs Pit Stop, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of them. They have both done a great job and it was a great day at Canary Wharf.
“After they had been given the award they were asked to go back on stage and speak about their experience.
“Olivia and Rhiannon are both strong characters and are always looking out for others who use Pit Stop so this is certainly well deserved.”