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William lists enviable support network in fight against bullying

Published 21/09/2015

The Duke of Cambridge is due to visit the Hammersmith Academy in London
The Duke of Cambridge is due to visit the Hammersmith Academy in London

The Duke of Cambridge has thrown his support behind an organisation's fight against bullying - and listed an enviable support network.

William wrote down Catherine, Harry, father, grandmother, grandfather and an extra - his dog Lupo - when he joined a Diana Fund trainee session for anti-bullying ambassadors.

Fifty youngsters from across the country were set the "high five" task of naming five people they would turn to for help with verbal, physical or cyber abuse.

The Duke was given a large cardboard hand to fill in and named his immediate family - better known as wife Kate, Prince Harry, the Prince of Wales, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh - before signing the palm with his name.

When William joined a group discussing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues, they were asked how they would react to homophobic bullying, and the Duke indicated he would confront those behind any comments and comfort the victims.

The youngsters were asked to move to one side if they would support the victim, another to confront the perpetrator and stay in the middle for another course of action.

William joined the confront group but indicated he would have started at the comfort side: "I would start on that side and end up here."

A student had told the group he would confront the homophobic bully and the Duke echoed his words: "As the young man said, I would try to confront."

The Diana Award's nationwide Anti-Bullying Ambassadors programme has been running for a number of years and has more than 16,000 ambassadors - mostly students - supporting pupils in 3,000 schools across the UK and Ireland.

The Diana Award backs the Princess of Wales's belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better and is committed to empowering them to tackle social issues affecting their peer group.

Bullying is an issue that some members of the Royal Family have experienced during their school days.

As a 14-year-old, Kate withdrew from independent girls' school Downe House in Cold Ash, Berkshire, after two terms when she was reportedly bullied.

The Prince of Wales also had a difficult time at secondary school. He was sent to Gordonstoun School in Moray, Scotland, following in the footsteps of the Duke of Edinburgh, but was picked on and described his days there as "a prison sentence''.

Charles did admit that the school instilled him with self-discipline and a sense of responsibility. It was also where Zara and Peter Phillips and the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex were educated.

The Cambridges selected the Beatbullying charity as one of the recipients of their wedding gift donations.

During the royal visit Tom Broughton, 17, told the group how he was targeted by social media when he came out as gay.

He praised William for highlighting the issue, saying: "It was great to have his support, to have somebody of that stature and that high up speaking about LGBT and cyberbullying."

The teenager, now an anti-bullying ambassador, said the Duke's actions were a "powerful message from the Royal Family" and added: "There's something deeply right in his wanting justice and everybody to be equal."

Emma Scott, the charity's training manager who hosted the LGBT workshop, said about William: "He voted with his feet to challenge the bullying, saying how he wanted to educate the bully. He said we need to educate and raise awareness.

"He was hands-on and allowed the young people to speak their minds and was very good at being calming. He was really humble and great with the kids."

Among the supporters of the Diana Award anti-bullying initiative invited to the event at the Hammersmith Academy in west London were actor Will Poulter, who starred in the movie Maze Runner, and two of the organisation's ambassadors, singer Sinitta and Carrie Grant, vocal coach on the BBC Fame Academy.

William also visited a workshop where students were asked to write on one piece of paper how to spot bullying and on another advice for someone suffering abuse.

These were stuck to a volunteer and a boy was covered in the pieces of paper - the Duke's advice was "communicate".

Alex Holmes, head of the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign, said: "The very fact that he is adding his weight to quite complex issues such as LGBT bullying, cyberbullying, has already made a difference. We've seen calls to the charity this morning because the Duke is standing up to bullying, people are coming forward.

"He was fantastic with the young people. He listened very carefully. A lot of them have come up to me and said they were excited. This is something he's passionate about, it really matters to him and a lot of friends have gone through this."

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