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Youngsters go on strike from school in climate change protest

Sheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. Pictures: David Bale

Sheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. Pictures: David Bale

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Students walked out of school to take the world-wide protests against climate change to the streets of a Norfolk town.

Sheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. L-R,  Harriet Russell,  Tabitha Russell, April Haywood and Pearl Knapp-Taylor. Pictures: David BaleSheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. L-R, Harriet Russell, Tabitha Russell, April Haywood and Pearl Knapp-Taylor. Pictures: David Bale

About 15 youngsters left Sheringham High School on the afternoon of Friday, October 18 and brought their message to shoppers and locals in the high street.

They walked from the high school in Holt Road to the seafront and then onto St Andrew's methodist church in Cromer Road, chanting out climate change slogans as they went.

'System change, not climate change' was their mantra, and while they were met with mildly amused looks from many shoppers, others cheered them on.

The protest was organised by schoolgirls Harriet Russell, 13, her sister Tabitha Russell, 15, April Haywood, 15, and Pearl Knapp-Taylor, 14.

Sheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. Mark Taylor from the Green Party joined the protest. Pictures: David BaleSheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. Mark Taylor from the Green Party joined the protest. Pictures: David Bale

They have all been inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg whose protests against climate change and its devastating effect on the environment have made her a spokeswoman for a generation.

April, a senior prefect at school, said: "We've only missed one lesson and mine was philosophy and ethics. This is philosophy and ethics in action.

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"As schoolchildren we cannot make changes but we can influence politicians by showing how much we care, and how important it is to us, by protesting like this."

Sheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. Pictures: David BaleSheringham High School pupils went on strike to lead a climate change protest. Pictures: David Bale

Tabitha said: "If we spread strikes to smaller communities as well, the government will see that it's a bigger deal."

Pearl added: "I want to do as much as I can to make a difference."

And Harriet said: "I want to change the world."

They were joined by members of North Norfolk Green Party, people from Extinction Rebellion, and parents of some of the youngsters.

Among them was Mark Taylor, North Norfolk parliamentary candidate for the Green Party, who is also a trained climate scientist.

He said: "The students walked out of school and went on strike. They decided that a lot of people in north Norfolk don't take climate change that seriously, so they wanted to change their minds. There's not much time left to make a difference. They know it's their world, and adults have destroyed it for them."

Mr Taylor later talked to the children about climate change at the church.

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