A sixth year pupil at Forfar Academy was one of only two Scottish students to attend a major event in London as part of the Commonwealth Day celebrations.
Eilidh Collins was invited to attend the event as one of only two Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament Ambassadors (MSYP).
The programme was organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Organisation and centred around this year’s theme for the Observance – Team Commonwealth.
The day began in the Houses of Parliament where Eilidh met other participants from countries across the Commonwealth.
She said: “It was an incredible opportunity to interact with other young people from across the globe, and discuss the issues most relevant to young people in their home nation. This was particularly evident during the debate we held, which centred on the question: “How will this year’s theme, Team Commonwealth, foster prosperity and co-operation across the Commonwealth?”
After this session, Eilidh attended the Commonwealth Observance Service in Westminster Abbey in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as many other influential figures from across the globe. There were speeches from Lord Seb Coe, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson and Malala Yousafzai.
Eilidh continued: “The highlight of the service for me was Malala’s speech. Malala was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for continuing to go to school despite the Taliban’s ban on women in education. It was incredible to see her still campaigning and standing up for what she believes in despite being through such a horrific ordeal. I found it particularly inspiring that she is only 16 years old, making her tremendous bravery and courage even more incredible. The whole service was very uplifting, promoting hope for ever-improving international relations throughout the Commonwealth and inspiring young people to promote equality and co-operation in their home countries.”
The day ended with an afternoon tea party at the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament where Eilidh spoke to many senior politicians from the Commonwealth about issues affecting young people.