Kirriemuir primary school mental health convoplate is the talk of Kensington Palace

April 20 2017, 8.00amUpdated: April 20 2017, 8.22am
© Paul Reid
Northmuir primary pupils Issy Ramsay and Charley-Rae Clarke

Tayside primary pupils have received a Royal seal of approval for their involvement in a global initiative aimed at developing youth mental health awareness.

The Northmuir school youngsters became involved with the convoplate programme founded in Canada and an ambitious plan to pass the Ontario stoneware into very special hands and keep the mental health conversation going will see the item’s journey continue from Kirriemuir to Kensington Palace after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge agreed to be the next link in the global chain.

The convoplate programme is part of the work of the Paul Hansell Foundation, founded by his father, Brian after he lost his teenage son to suicide in 2010.

Northmuir deputy headteacher Jonathan Brown met Mr Hansell on a visit to Ontario last October, and felt the convoplate scheme fitted perfectly with work being done in the Angus primary around mental wellbeing.

Northmuir deputy head Jonathan Brown with Issy (left) and Charley© DC Thomson
Northmuir deputy head Jonathan Brown with Issy (left) and Charley-Rae

“I was visiting my brother, Ben, who is a neighbour of Brian Hansell and thought the convoplate was something we could definitely get involved in,” said Mr Brown.

“There are a number of convoplates, which you can track through the foundation website, and the idea is to pass them on to keep the conversation going.”

Northmuir decided to “shoot for the stars” and after 11-year-olds Charley-Rae Clarke and Issy Ramsay drafting up the letter to William and Kate they were delighted when the response came back saying that the Royal couple would be happy to accept the convoplate.

The Duke and Duchess, along with Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign which seeks to end the stigma associated with mental health, and described the convoplate as a “superb way to have the conversation.”

Mr Brown said: “For some time we have used a resource in school called bounceback which encourages little perspectives of looking at situations to help develop the positive mental health habits which are so important for young people.

“I thought the convoplate was a great way for us to develop what we are doing in school and we were amazed when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge agreed to accept it.

“We are #162, so we can track the plate on its journey. They haven’t said yet who they plan to pass it on to so we can’t wait to see who that will be and hope it might be someone famous.”

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