NW schoolkids help secure peace scroll world record

Damian Harkin, principal, St. Joseph's Boys' School, pictured with some of his sixth form students who were among the latest to sign the record breaking 'Pupils Pledge Peace Initiative'. DER3814MC066
Damian Harkin, principal, St. Joseph's Boys' School, pictured with some of his sixth form students who were among the latest to sign the record breaking 'Pupils Pledge Peace Initiative'. DER3814MC066
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Derry has a new Guinness World Record (GWR) thanks to the vision of a local Presbyterian minister and the efforts of thousands of schoolkids.

On Friday, pupils from across Derry and Donegal who participated in the ‘Pupils Pledge Peace Initiative’ gathered at St Mary’s College, Derry, to celebrate a new Guinness World Record (GWR) for ‘Most Signatures on a Scroll’.

The initiative was spearheaded by Rev David Latimer, Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, in partnership with the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) and endorsed earlier this year by US Congressman John Lewis and Nobel Laureate John Hume.

The attempt to beat the current GWR of 10,000 signatures was smashed when pupils revealed the new figure of 14,000 signatures to the audience and special guests.

Rev Latimer said he was “overjoyed” at the new world record: “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,” he added.

“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 of 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.”

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.”

The scroll will continue on its journey around schools in the WELB region and Donegal area until the end of September.