Eurovision starlet SuRie shares words of advice with protégés at her old Bishop's Stortford schools
Eurovision singer SuRie made an eagerly-anticipated return to her two old schools in Bishop's Stortford.
The 30-year-old Storm singer, who represented the UK in the 2018 contest in Lisbon, visited St Joseph's Catholic Primary School and Herts and Essex High School last Tuesday.
SuRie had one of the shortest journeys to school when she attended Herts and Essex – where she was known as Susanna Cork – as her family home was in Warwick Road.
When the starlet returned to the hallowed halls, she led a songwriting workshop and question and answer session with a selected group of students.
Daisy Wilcox, Ellie Aylett, Freya Sweeney and Ciara Sweeney performed their own original songs for SuRie, who in turn offered the girls advice. She encouraged them to have confidence in their abilities, both in writing and performing, and to conquer their nerves and concerns about what others might think. The workshop ended with the girls joining SuRie for a rendition of Storm.
Lucy Gray, the school's communications officer, said: "It was a real treat to have SuRie back with us in the music block where she spent so much of her time when she was at Herts & Essex. It was a fantastic morning and an inspiring one."
SuRie also inspired a new generation of musicians when she visited St Joseph's. She was invited to the Great Hadham Road primary by music subject leader Katharine Roper, who taught SuRie when she was a pupil.
"Her musical talents were obvious even at the age of nine, when I first met her," said Katharine. "She was highly proficient on the piano, recorder and oboe before leaving school."
Katharine, who has worked at St Joseph's for 21 years, met up with SuRie when the star performed at Rhodes Arts Complex in Stortford last year as part of her Eurovision Unplugged tour.
"I invited her to revisit her roots to inspire a new generation of pupils to follow their dreams, but also to realise that they need to work really hard at whatever they choose to do in life and it will be worth it," she said.
"SuRie gave a performance to the children, accompanying herself on the piano. Both SuRie and I were nearly moved to tears when she sang Storm and the children quite spontaneously began to sing along."
SuRie later told Katharine: "I was so moved when the students, so politely and musically, joined in. That was incredibly special and I won't be forgetting that any time soon.
"The whole afternoon reinforced the beautiful memories I have of St Joseph's and I feel so, so lucky to have been a student at your wonderful school."
Katharine also interviewed SuRie in front of the children, who then put their own questions to the musician. "SuRie spoke very openly to the children about her journey from school to Eurovision last year and the ups and downs of her career so far. She inspired them to be resilient, which is something we teach at St Joseph's too," Katharine said.
"I know this visit has really inspired the children to 'chase their rainbows', and as a school we are so very proud of SuRie and all of our former pupils."
More by this authorCat Barkley