Belfast Telegraph

Stars join to inspire youngsters

Renowned speakers and chart-topping musical artists joined together today to inspire young people to change the world.

Actor Martin Sheen, Princess Beatrice, Sir Richard Branson and the US singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes were just some of the celebrities who turned up at the SSE Wembley Arena to support We Day UK - the largest youth empowerment event of its kind.

A star-studded agenda included musical entertainment from big names and up-and-coming young talents, with inspiring speeches and videos encouraging the young audience to take action on causes important to them.

Sir Richard said: "Nothing beats the feeling of being back at We Day UK. The energy here is like nothing else I've ever experienced.

"The kids who have come here today have done all sorts of different things, whether it's looking after people on the streets, old people, cleaning people's homes - anything and everything to help people in their local community."

His daughter Holly Branson, co-chair of the event added: "It's so lovely to have it back and celebrate all the wonderful work that these kids have done."

The day-long event, hosted by Laura Whitmore, Yasmin Evans, Rebecca Dudley and Bluey Robinson, was attended by more 12,000 children from over 550 schools across the country.

The young attendees were not able to buy tickets for the exciting show, but instead had to earn their place by committing to undertake at least one local and one global charitable act of their choice.

US actor Martin Sheen was one of the popular figures backing the idea. He said: "I'm delighted to be here. It's about saying 'from me to we'. It's about us, it's about community and that's the only place we make a difference. We can do very little on our own but we can do a lot with each other."

Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger came up with the initial idea for We Day, which now takes place in fourteen locations across Canada, the United States and the UK.

Craig said: "We Day is a celebration of service but the real work starts when these young people go back to their classrooms and communities, empowered to make a difference."

Today's event is linked to the year-long We Act programme, which offers free educational resources and support materials to help children harness the event's inspiration and turn it in to sustained action.

Since 2007, young people involved in the programme have raised £32 million for more than 1,000 local and global causes.

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