And the winner is ...

1st January 1999 at 00:00
Claire Davis, 16, explains how she was elected to Greenwich Young People's Council and became involved in the borough's millennium festivities

I sat in my history lesson one Friday afternoon as Hypocrites went in one ear and out the other. We were all waiting anxiously for the results. I kept on hearing "You've won Claire, you've won" but I had to hear it for myself. The tension was mounting and then the tannoy switched on and a familiar voice announced "and the winner of the Greenwich Young People's Council election is Claire Davis." A huge roar came from around me and suddenly I could breathe again.

I had been to every assembly in school that week with my campaign, in which I was supported by friends and family. I had three worthy opponents, but "in the end there can only be one".

I had based my campaign on what I could do for my school. All I needed was the chance to show people how good I would be at representing their views on a permanent youth council.

The Greenwich Young People's Council (GYPC) consists of representatives from the borough's schools, voluntary and statutory bodies, and colleges. When we met for the first time I was worried that we wouldn't all get along, but the GYPC's residential weekend at Wrotham, Kent, saw to that, some people getting on only too well.

We are involved with the Millennium Youth Council because we are a democratic body that represents Greenwich. I love the experience and opportunities I have had through being on the council. I have appeared on television and radio and have been in the newspapers many times. I've been to the Dome twice, I have made many new friends. I have had the opportunity to meet the president of McDonald's, Andrew Taylor. I know our local councillors, not to forget the director of education, Mr Gytes (my headteacher is jealous of me because I call him George.) Although we are young, we are not naive and we know when we are being listened to. All we want is a voice that will be heard and acted upon. We now have our own offices and are battling to change school meals. The future holds a place for young people in the world of politics, but not for me. I want to be a clinical psychologist for children in America (that's where the money is!).

Claire Davis is a pupil at Eltham Hill Technology College, south east London

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