A group of students from Prendergast Ladywell Fields School in Catford are this year’s Spirit of London Young Heroes. The award was presented by London mayor Boris Johnson and Richard Taylor, father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor, at the O2 stadium on Saturday night.
Alexandra Burke, Flawless, Toploader, Roll Deep and Labrinth all performed at the ceremony. The students also met with Barbara Windsor, this year’s winner of the ‘London Legend’ award.
The award recognises the work done by the students in building campaigns for positive change within their communities, especially in promoting the ‘Citysafe Safe Havens’ campaign instigated by the Mizen family after Jimmy Mizen was stabbed in a Lee bakery, aged 16, in 2009.
“Tonight was the best night of my life”, said Alice Schweighert, aged 13. “It means so much, we have worked so hard this year and this award is a recognition of what our community has achieved. We have all come together to make our streets safer”.
The girls paid tribute to everyone who has been involved in the Safe Havens campaign, which asks local shopkeepers to put a sticker in their windows to let young people know they can go in if they feel threatened or afraid and the shopkeeper will lock the doors and call the police. They thanked, in particular, London Citizens and the Mizen family.
Aishat Rufai, who is 15, added:
“It was wonderful to meet the Mayor of London, Alexandra Burke and Barbara Windsor and amazing to stand on the stage with our award. But it was meeting Damilola’s father and shaking his hand on stage, ten years after Damilola was killed, that made me cry and it is this that we must remember, that this is why we are all here”.