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Mum of tragic Archie Battersbee to tell Children's Parliament about online dangers


The mother of tragic Archie Battersbee will warn youngsters about internet dangers as she speaks to the Children’s Parliament. Hollie Dance will address children next Friday to tell them how Archie, 12, never recovered consciousness after taking part in an online strangulation challenge in April. Archie from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, died in August when his life support system was turned off.

The 90-minute session for the youngsters, aged seven to 11, comes a year and a day since Children’s Parliament founder, Tory MP Sir David Amess, was murdered in the constituency where Archie lived.

Hollie, right, said: “I’m trying to raise the awareness of these dangerous challenges which appear on children’s phone and laptop screens. It’s important young people realise that there are companies and individuals out there who effectively groom youngsters to join in these so-called ‘games’.

“After what happened to Archie, I’m determined to raise awareness of risks that I only came to know about when he was four days into a coma.”

She added: “I don’t want what happened to Archie to happen to any other child. “Having the Children’s Parliament as a forum to reach up to 650 children and countless others around the world is an amazing opportunity.”

The main debate for the children, from UK constituencies, will be: “Which causes should King Charles III prioritise to best support the future of young people?”

The parliament, sponsored by Wakelet Microsoft 365 and the Daily Express, was the brainchild of Sir David, who was MP for SouthendWest for 24 years.

Sir David, 69, was vocal about his love of British democracy and insisted young people should grow up knowing about the “Mother of Parliaments”.

He was organising the matching of 650 primary school pupils with their constituency MPs for the first Children’s Parliament when he was stabbed to death by an Islamic fanatic at his surgery last October.

Despite the atrocity, the inaugural parliament went ahead, addressed by former premier Boris Johnson and House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Sir David’s eldest daughter, actress and model Katie Amess, 37, is now patron of the initiative.

She said: “From the absolute tragedy of my father’s death, we must ensure that democracy and freedom of speech prevail. I am so proud to be a part of this initiative and in his memory, will do all I possibly can to ensure its success.”

Primary school children throughout the UK, including Edinburgh, Belfast, Penzance, Manchester and London, will be taking part.

Ex-Tory Cabinet minister David Davis, a close friend of Sir David, said: “David was an exceptional man and was driven to get more young people involved in politics through the Children’s Parliament.

“This is vital, not just for those kids who want to become democratically elected members, but for ensuring civility in society.”

Mr Davis – who is on the Children’s Parliament advisory board with Daily Express editor-in-chief Gary Jones – is helping to secure the main chamber for a debate next May.


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