Schoolkids from across Derry and Donegal have been celebrating a new Guinness World Record (GWR) for ‘Most Signatures on a Scroll’.
The pupils participating in the ‘Pupils Pledge Peace Initiative’ gathered at St Mary’s College, Derry, to toast their triumph.
The initiative was spearheaded by Rev David Latimer, Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, in partnership with the Western Education and Library Board (WELB).
It was endorsed earlier this year by US Congressman John Lewis and Nobel Laureate John Hume.
The attempt to beat the existing GWR of 10,000 signatures was smashed when pupils revealed the new figure of 14,000 signatures.
Rev. Latimer, welcoming the new record, acknowledged how “we are at our most imaginative when we are young.”
He added: “This should persuade us to listen to the words and wisdom of young people whose energy and
brightness can serve as a torchbearer for a country. Young people hope for a world free of poverty, unemployment, inequality and exploitation; moreover, they want a world free of discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, creed, language and gender. These young people can help lead a country to become what they have always hoped for.”
Barry Mulholland, chief executive, WELB, commended Rev Latimer for his vision of peace and for his “determination to empower our young people to believe in and voice their hope for a fairer and safer future for all.”
He also acknowledged the part played by primary and post primary school pupils, principals, teaching and non-teaching staff “who, through their willingness to take part in the peace initiative, managed their daily teaching activities in order for our young people to play a key role as peace builders.”
Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson said: “Young people growing up in our city have a role in peace-building. By participating in this ‘Pupils Pledge Peace Initiative’, their messages of hope and aspiration to set a new world record for peace has inspired all of us to keep on moving our country forward.”