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Student speaks at climate conference

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:42 01 August 2010

AN A level student planning an Arctic adventure bravely took up an invitation to speak in front of 1,000 young people at a climate change conference in London.

AN A level student planning an Arctic adventure bravely took up an invitation to speak in front of 1,000 young people at a climate change conference in London.

Lucy Shepherd, 17, was selected recently to go on a month-long trip with the British Schools Exploration Society to the Arctic to help research the effects of global warming.

Her spirit impressed the organisers of a conference staged by the UK Youth Climate Coalition, who asked her to give an inspirational speech at the event.

Lucy, from Henham, said programme manager of the event Matt Williams had picked up on her planned expedition after seeing her in the newspaper last month.

She said: “He just happened to see the newspaper article and contacted me and said, would you like to talk about your Arctic trip on stage? I was a bit nervous but I couldn't say no to it.”

The weekend event, Power Shift, was held at the Institute of Education and attracted 16-24 year-olds from across the country and abroad.

Despite having no experience of public speaking on such a vast scale, Lucy took to the stage on Friday where she was the youngest of the panel of six speakers, which included deputy editor of the Guardian Ian Katz.

Lucy, a sixth form student at Woodbridge School, said her seven-minute speech went well despite having just two weeks to prepare for the big event.

“I guess it was enough,” she said. “It was good. I talked about how I got interested in climate change and what I'm going to be doing in the Arctic and that with the challenge I face and we face to combat climate change.”

Newly involved in campaigning to fight climate change, Lucy has since decided to take on a 10-week Arctic group expedition in April 2011 instead of the four-week trip she had planned for next summer. Saying she was looking forward to the challenge, she added: “I wanted to get the true Arctic experience - it's in the winter and it's going to be even colder.”

Anyone able to help with sponsorship for Lucy's trip can e-mail p.shepherd@virgin.net

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