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Bermondsey pupil wins Mary Seacole competition

London SE1 website team

A pupil from Grange Primary School in Bermondsey has won a competition organised by the Mary Seacole Trust for poems, essays and videos about family members and role models who exhibit and embody the qualities of Mary Seacole.

Bermondsey pupil wins Mary Seacole competition

The Mary Seacole Trust is the successor to the organisation which raised funds for the Seacole statue at St Thomas' Hospital.

The competition, now in its second year, attracted entries from a number of local schools.

The awards ceremony was held at City Hall on Friday 31 January as part of an event hosted in collaboration with the Mayor's Young Londoners Programme.

The evening was opened by Joanne McCartney, London's Deputy Mayor for Education and Youth, and the awards presented by Gadget Show host Ortis Deley.

Lexie Kadjo, who is in year 5 at Grange Primary School in Bermondsey, won the primary school category of the competition.

Lexie wrote about her older sister who she describes as: "brave, kind, resilient". She says her sister touched her heart by saying "whenever you need me I am always here for you when your hurt or not".

Lexie also highlighted her sister's help for homeless people and animals which she said reminded her of Mary Seacole.

Grange classmates Olamide Samuel and Rumaysa Zakaria were both commended by judges.

The secondary school winner was James Cummins, 11, from Carshalton Boys Sports College, who wrote about a 19-year-old man who helps run the local youth and Scout group, in spite of having battled brain cancer.

MST education committee chair Jermaine Sterling explained: "Following the success of last year's inaugural competition, we were excited to expand this year and reach out to older students in the secondary school category.

"The aim of the Young Seacole Ambassadors initiative is for children to learn about Mary and what she stands for, while also reflecting on role models within their own lives.

"It was extremely moving to learn about the important people in these young people's lives and reassuring to know how many modern day Marys there are in our community.'"

Winners received individual prizes and the schools of all finalists will receive a fund to spend from a menu of initiatives. These will include MST partners the Florence Nightingale Museum, Black Cultural Archives and English National Opera.

Children were asked to produce a piece of work that told the Mary Seacole Trust about their modern day Mary Seacole. There were inspirational stories told through poems, essays and videos about family members and role models who exhibit and embody Mary's qualities.

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