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Lewisham teens take peace campaign to Downing Street
Youngsters from every Lewisham secondary school have taken their peace campaign to the very top - 10 Downing Street.
The trip was part of the 10,000 Hands project - an anti-violence campaign backed by the Jimmy Mizen Foundation which has been supported by children, police and politicians.
It was launched in January last year by Prendergast Ladywell Fields College pupil Camilla Yahaya, 17, who came up with the idea of asking people to add their handprints to a giant 'peace cloth' - a symbol of working together for positive change.
And on April 24 she was joined by representatives from all the borough's senior schools in a pilgrimage through central London, via, Trafalgar Square, to meet Prime Minister David Cameron.
She said: "This is not about ‘young’ people, this is just about people. It's about us, the very vast majority - good, kind and hopeful people who all want the same thing – safe streets, strong communities and opportunities for all.
"Our cloth is just a simple way for us all to publicly claim this for ourselves."
Mr Cameron, who gave them an award for the project and added his own handprint to the cloth, told them: "Camilla and her team are doing phenomenal work to make the changes they want to see in Lewisham.
"I’m proud to add my hand print to the campaign’s peace cloth today. This Big Society Award is for all the inspirational young people across Lewisham who are making a difference with the 10,000 Hands campaign."
Margaret Mizen, whose teenage son Jimmy was murdered at a Lee bakery in 2008, said: "Today was a real celebration of all that is good in our young people, we are so proud of them and how all the young people of Lewisham are making a stand for peace lead by Camilla."
Camilla and her team have now set a target to reach 100,000 prints by the end of the year and 1,000,000 virtual handprints worldwide.
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