First student-led TV station opens in Jill Dando's name at her former school

PUBLISHED: 11:55 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 01 May 2019

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry Woodsford

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry Woodsford

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The first student-led television station has been launched in memory of a former Weston journalist.

The opening of the Donald Brown Suite. Picture: King Alfred School Academy News CentreThe opening of the Donald Brown Suite. Picture: King Alfred School Academy News Centre

Jill Dando Television was unveiled at Worle Community School (WCSA), in Redwing Drive, on Friday, to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.

The school also officially opened the Donald Brown Suite, named after its first headteacher and where the media operations will run from.

Donald was also Jill's headteacher from 1973 to 1978, when she wrote for the school's newspaper, The Merlin, aged 13.

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry Woodsford

Young reporters from Jill Dando News Centres based at Priory Community School, King Alfred School, and Castle Batch Academy attended the launch.

MORE: Family touched by how Jill's memory lives on.

Nigel Dando told the Mercury: “Jill would be chuffed to see all this amazing work in her honour, the desire and passion from the young people who use the centres is inspiring.

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry Woodsford

“We came from humble beginnings and Jill wanted to be a journalist from a very young age, she never expected to become the face of the BBC but she never changed and never let it phase her.

“She was a talented, hard-working journalist and was very grateful for the opportunities journalism gave her in life.

“If she walked into this room now she'd be so proud.”

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: King Alfred School Academy News CentreThe first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: King Alfred School Academy News Centre

MORE: Jill Dando's legacy remains in Weston and beyond through student news centres.

More than 5,000 children across North Somerset, and in Malawi in Africa, have been inspired by Jill's life to publish good news stories across their communities.

Youngsters tell positive stories about their peers, boosting their literacy skills while learning about journalism.

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry Woodsford

WCSA headteacher Jacqui Scott said: “This is a momentous day as Donald Brown served this school for 22 years as its first headteacher.

“It is clear to see how Jill's life and legacy is living on in the next generation of journalists through thousands of good news stories.”

MORE: Mercury staff past and present pay tribute to Jill Dando.

The first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe first Jill Dando Television Centre opened at Worle Community School. Picture: Henry Woodsford

Student journalist Aimee Braithwaite, aged 13, added: “The Jill Dando News Centre is not just a hobby, it's a sense of community and family.

“It has given me so many opportunities to meet new people and enjoy new experiences.

“I feel proud to be part of such an amazing team which is helping to keep Jill's memory alive.

“This inspirational woman believed in giving back to the community and positive news stories, which is something we are aspiring to achieve.”

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