Workshops help get message out

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HEALTH conscious youngsters have been learning more about the perils of smoking as part of a groundbreaking drama performance.

Jesus Christ Superstar television finalist Afnan Iftikhar was among the talented performers encouraging students in Hartlepool to say ‘no’ to smoking through drama and workshops.

North-East based Afnan and fellow actors Zoe Hakin and Will Graham visited all the town’s secondary schools as part of ‘The Truth’ Tobacco Theatre in Education Programme.

The Truth promotes a healthy living message to Key Stage 3 pupils using humour, music and popular culture, to “empower” young people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The latest pupils to take part in programme are youngsters at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road.

Julie Johnson, the school’s pastoral support manager, said: “The performance and workshops have made an amazing impression on the students. They have really brought home the message about the dangers of smoking – the students are certainly not impressed by the temptations of tobacco.”

Joel O’Beirne, 12, said: “I really enjoyed the sessions – we learnt a lot about the dangers of smoking.”

Jade Flounders, also 12, added: “I’m going to say no if I’m ever offered a cigarette.”

The Truth was devised in partnership with Fresh NE and is now a key part of the British Heart Foundation’s Hearty Lives Hartlepool project to encourage people to improve their heart health and reduce cardiovascular disease.