Wokingham.Today

Anti-bullying activist says Priti Patel has set a bad example

Charlie Kristensen (10) has become an anti-bullying champion for The Diana Award Picture: Chris Keenan

AN ARBORFIELD boy who has become the face of an anti-bullying campaign said he’d like to interview Priti Patel.

Charlie Kristensen recently launched a charity single with West End stars in aid of The Diana Award, and wants the home secretary to talk about his campaign.

Ms Patel, who was found to have bullied and sworn at civil servants, refused last week to resign from office.

Charlie, who studies at Hurst Lodge, said: “I would love to hear your story Priti Patel, to understand why you are the human you have chosen to be.”

He told Wokingham.Today he thinks Ms Patel is “giving out the wrong message” and that the older generation is setting a “bad example” for children.

“How can we change the world, when someone with the power to change it is doing the wrong thing,” he said. “It shows bullying can happen anywhere. You can be nine or 90, because it’s a learnt behaviour.”

Ms Patel declined to comment on Charlie’s request for interview, but reiterated her statement made last week.

“I am sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people. It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone. I am very grateful for the hard work of thousands of civil servants who help to deliver the Government’s agenda,” she said.

“I care deeply about delivering on the commitments we have made to the people of this country and I acknowledge that I am direct and have at times got frustrated.”

As part of his campaign, Charlie said he hopes more people will talk about their experiences to help the cause.

“We can’t do it in silence,” he added. “The only way to make a change is to stand up and change it. And if that takes a 10-year-old boy, so be it. I’m going to keep this going.”

Charlie’s single, You Will Be Found, features musical stars across the country, including Michael Ball.

He won over the hearts of the West End theatre industry last year when, encouraged by his performance coach West End performer Jacqueline Hughes, he launched his #CheerUpCharlie campaign to help others.

Following this, Charlie was trained as an ambassador by The Diana Award, which runs a national anti-bullying programme.

Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Charlie and all his West End Friends for their support.

“Charlie’s courage in the face of his own bullying experience is an inspiration to us and the thousands of young people who will hear about his story. He reminds us daily how important it is to do the right thing, not the easy thing.

“He is a fantastic anti-bullying ambassador and everyone at The Diana Award is proud of him.”

Charlie added: “Everyone who listens to the song says it should be at number one — but to do that, people need to download it rather than stream on Youtube.”

Since its release, Charlie has been a guest on BBC Breakfast, ITN News, ITV Meridian and BBC South Today.

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