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X Factor star visits Beccles school to share message about online safety

PUBLISHED: 08:15 05 February 2016

X Factor finalist Sam Callahan meets year 8 students at Sir John Leman High School, Beccles.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

X Factor finalist Sam Callahan meets year 8 students at Sir John Leman High School, Beccles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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He performed in front of millions on live TV as an X Factor finalist.

X Factor finalist Sam Callahan meets year 8 students at Sir John Leman High School, Beccles.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherX Factor finalist Sam Callahan meets year 8 students at Sir John Leman High School, Beccles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

And this week singer-songwriter Sam Callahan visited Sir John Leman High School in Beccles to talk to pupils in Years 7 and 8 about a cause close to his heart.

He talked about his experiences of being bullied, and spoke to pupils about how to be safe online, before performing in the school’s hall.

He said: “We’ve been talking about e-safety and cyber bullying and it was really cool.

“I think with me doing it, they seemed to listen maybe because of the music, everyone related to it so it breaks down that barrier.“

As an ambassador of the national bullying helpline, it is a cause close to Mr Callahan’s heart.

He suffers from both ADHD and dyslexia, and told pupils he understood how it felt to be picked on.

“I’ve been bullied my whole life, and I hope my negative experiences can be a positive for a lot of people,” he said.

“I hope that they listen and take it on board. Sometimes with this sort of thing when someone comes into school and talks like this, kids just go home and ignore it because they’ve been lectured to. I hope the way I do it will change that, and hopefully they’ll go home and think about what I’ve said.”

After his performance, he stopped to speak to pupils, sign autographs and take pictures.

Among the students in the audience was Year 8 pupil Melissa Goldhey. She said: “He told us how to stay safe online and what we should do if anyone bullies you, and to tell an adult. He had some helpful suggestions.”

Hannah Hocking, also in Year 8 said: “He told us a story about one of his fans who’s getting bullied, she was getting death threats, it was quite scary. I’ll try and be a bit more safe online.”

The school’s online safety leader Toby Gorbould said it was an important message for the pupils.

“We want to do all we can to help our pupils be safe online and it’s great to be able to have a celebrity come in and talk to them about it,” he said.

“He’s a musician and he’s got a personal message too, he can tell his own stories and the pupils can relate to him.

“It’s about raising the 
profile of online safety in the school as much as we can, so the pupils know they’ve got the support.”

Is your school hosting a special event for pupils? Email the details to polly.grice@archant.co.uk.

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