Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 30 March 2011 12:22 UK

My return to Wootton Bassett

Students from Wootton Bassett report on the closure of their local airbase

By Richard Westcott
BBC Breakfast

I know I sound like an old man here, but I can't believe how media savvy kids are these days.

All morning on Thursday 24 March I was handing over the microphone to teenagers at Wootton Bassett School and asking them to perform live on telly.

At 13 years old I would have frozen up like a glass of water on a bench in Vladivostok if they had put me in front of a camera. But not this lot. They were like old hands... one of them has been on Tracy Beaker you know.

This is the second year I have been to Wootton Bassett for School Report. Last time around they made a film about the repatriations, when the town comes to a halt, and pays its respects to those killed in Afghanistan.

This time the story their School Reporters have picked is having an even bigger effect on the area. RAF Lyneham closes this Christmas after decades of service.

Around 2500 people work there and many have children at the school, yet the future of the site is still up in the air.

The pupils decided to survey a number of classmates. Half of the pupils who responded think they will end up losing a friend when the base goes, as families are posted elsewhere.

As for the future, most want the army to take over the site, although one did suggest turning it into KFC World...

Whatever happens, the pupils have made a great report, talking to locals about the story.

It is not often I write this, but they also managed to get an exclusive with Eddie Shah. Yes, the Eddie Shah, the newspaper mogul and businessman. He has a plan B if the army don't move in... a sustainable eco-village and business area with two colleges, among other things.

I know I would say this anyway, but it happens to be true. I really enjoy School Report. There is a myth that teenagers don't have any interest in the news. That is not my experience. They are as effected by change as anyone else, and they want their opinions heard.

Anyway, after a bit of cajoling I managed to get the microphone back off them.

Until next year...



SEE ALSO
Wootton Bassett gets 'Royal' name
17 Mar 11 |  Wiltshire
RAF Lyneham decision due by July
26 Jan 11 |  Wiltshire


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