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In pics: School Report meets Sir Richard Branson at the Commonwealth Observance ceremony
27 March 2013
Last updated at 17:14
Lincoln Castle Academy School Reporters attend Westminister Abbey's Commonwealth Observance and interview Sir Richard Branson on his views on Enterprise.
Arriving at the Abbey with orange tickets in hands issued with our School Report lanyards and clipboard, we were ready to interview guests already seated inside Westminster Abbey, before the Commonwealth Observance began. Everyone knows… a clipboard makes you look important! (It also helps hide your nerves!) L-R Carlo, Matthew, Chloe, Abbie from Lincoln Castle Academy.
Making a plan of attack for pre-service interviews. School Reporters gathered for a last minute check on our plan of action. A quick review of our questions before heading out to record interviews.
Sir Richard Branson arrives at Westminster Abbey, looking surprisingly well after taking part in the Argus Cycle Tour, in South Africa, the day before. Sir Richard left a balmy 36C South Africa to return to a chilly -2 London to make his key-note speech on Enterprise. Our most memorable parts of his speech were when he spoke about great opportunities coming if you are brave enough to say "Yes", and of course the gasps and giggles caused by his favourite phrase "…Screw it, let’s do it"
The arrival of singing sensation Beverley Knight, wrapped up against the cold March weather, and ready to perform at the Observance.
Chloe and Abbie managed a quick interview with Beverley Knight before the Observance began. The girls asked her about her views on Enterprise and how she had prepared for her singing performance during the service.
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrives at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Observance. Sadly the Queen was unable to attend the service on medical advice.
The procession of flags, representing the 54 countries of the Commonwealth, marked the end of the Observance.
After a couple of hours inside a chilly Westminster Abbey, we had time for an even colder photoshoot outside the Abbey, before heading to the Virgin Galactic offices. (We were not as cold as our photographer, Rolf Marriot, who had spent two hours in the freezing temperatures in the press pit outside the Abbey!)
Matthew asks Richard about the economy and enterprise. We were nervous about our interview, but Sir Richard soon put us at our ease – almost interviewing us before we had a chance to interview him! Once the mics were on and the cameras rolling, our nerves fell away as Chloe opened our interview by asking who Sir Richard is inspired by. Sir Richard told us of his inspiration from and admiration for Nelson Mandela, and the work he has done to create a united South Africa.
As Carlo prepares his question, Abbey asks if Sir Richard has ever used dyslexia as an excuse… We all listened on as Sir Richard told us how he had spent years being called stupid "because no-one knew what dyslexia was back then". We then got an impromptu lesson on how to know the difference between gross and net profit, (a theory involving the sea, fish and a big net!) - a detail Sir Richard only grasped himself 10 years ago!
Finally Matthew asked whether Virgin would have the same success if it were to launch for the first time in the current economic climate. Offering positive advice to all budding entrepreneurs, Sir Richard strongly believes that the success of any business is reliant on the quality of the idea and the people behind it, rather than the economics of the country. When asked about his business ideas, Matthew kept his cards very close to his chest… first rule of business: don’t tell your competitors your next big idea!
After a very long day, and a fantastic interview with Sir Richard Branson there was time for one last photoshoot in front of the back drop of the Virgin SpacePort. We would like to thank our team from the BBC; Mark, for filming the interview, Rolf – for all his amazing photographs and Josie – for keeping us all organised despite the universe conspiring against us, the Virgin Galactic team for making us feel very welcome in their offices (and for the cupcakes!) And finally we would like to thank Sir Richard Branson who took time out from his very busy schedule to talk to four students from Lincoln about all things Enterprise. It was an honour and a privilege to meet you and have the chance to talk with you!
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