June 19 2013 Latest news:
A "Mulberry School for Girls" student Basma Akouiz, 14, who won a boat naming competition with "Mulberry Express" at her school, feels misled as she was not invited to unveiling of the Olympic barge by Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as by TV presenter Ben Fogle.
Else Kvist, Reporter
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Basma Akouiz, a year nine pupil at Mulberry School for Girls in Whitechapel, won a competition to name a barge, which will be used as a water taxi during the Olympics.
The barge was unveiled during a visit by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall last month to Three Mills, the world’s oldest tidal mill, in Bow.
The group of 14 girls representing the school chatted to Prince Charles and Camilla who they presented with a handmade card.
Basma said: “I didn’t even know they had gone till the other pupils came back.
“When I heard some of the girls got to shake Prince Charles’ hand and speak to him I got really upset and started crying because I also wanted to be in that position. It would have been a special memory which I could have told people about.
“The boy who won the competition to name another boat was pictured all over the internet and in the newspapers.
“When I asked why I wasn’t invited I was told it was because of truancy and that only pupils with good behaviour and attendance could go. I was shocked.
“Even if the truancy was true, I don’t see why I should be stopped from going when I won the competition.
“I’m feeling more and more depressed that I missed a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Headteacher Vanessa Ogden confirmed Basma was barred and there had been an issue over truancy. Ms Ogden said: “There were special issues which I cannot discuss. But I believe that if we had been able to reach her family to discuss them, she would have been able to go.
“There is regret on our part for our pupil that she was not able to participate despite winning the competition.”