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Brooke Hill Academy pupil Florence, from, Oakham, chosen to represent Rutland and join Prime Minister Boris Johnson at first Children's Parliament



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A passionate young environmentalist from Rutland will form part of the first-ever Children's Parliament this afternoon.

Florence Nichols, 10, was chosen to represent the constituency of Rutland and Melton in the inaugural parliament which will hold its first meeting from 5pm today (Friday).

Up to 600 'Child MPs' will hold a parliamentary-style debate ahead of next week's COP26 conference in Glasgow.

Florence Nichols, 10, will represent Rutland and Melton at the inaugural Children's Parliament
Florence Nichols, 10, will represent Rutland and Melton at the inaugural Children's Parliament

The 90-minute virtual session will begin with an address by prime Minister Boris Johnson and will be live streamed here on the Daily Express website.

It will focus on climate change, but will also touch on topics such as Covid-19 and technology.

"I was extremely excited when I found out I'd been picked," Florence said.

"It was just like the world had floated away and I was in a dream. My friends described me as an over-excitable kangaroo.

"I'm extremely nervous, but also really happy that I get to share my feelings about a subject I'm most passionate about."

Mum Emma added: "It's lovely for her to have this opportunity to be able to speak on such a big platform and voice her concerns.

"She had done brilliantly and it's great for her and other young people to have this chance."

Florence, from Oakham, is one of a handful of the representatives selected to present a question to the Speaker for debate at the meeting.

She will ask whether teaching should be kept in classrooms or held online.

"I think it should be kept in classrooms because you can socialise there and learning isn't just about doing equations," she explained.

"It's also about learning how to socialise and make friends."

Florence's journey into politics began last summer term at her school - Brooke Hill Academy.

Pupils were asked to write a letter on why they should be selected and how important climate change issue was to them.

She was put forward by her school and a few weeks later was selected to represent the county.

Florence has already discussed climate change issues with Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns during her visit to Brooke Hill and gave the politician a guided tour of the school.

The Year 6 pupil is trying to create groups at Brooke Hill to raise awareness of the environment among her fellow pupils.

"The environment is something I am extremely passionate about," she said.

"I've felt really strongly about it ever since I found out there were problems.

"I'm a child and will experience it in the future. I'm most worried about animals, the loss of their habitats and extreme weather events."

Florence would like to see cleaner ways of producing electricity and believes reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050 should be our top priority.

"Even small things like turning the light off when leaving a room, switching off plugs," she added.

"It's all small, but if we all do it it would help immensely."



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