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Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 15:18 GMT
Queen meets 'bully busters'
Children who help their fellow pupils beat bullying met the Queen when she visited their school in north London.
Pupils at Duncombe primary school in Holloway, volunteer to become "bully busters", to whom children can turn if they are being bullied.
The volunteers, aged 10 and 11, then speak to the alleged bullies to try to settle disputes and stamp out bullying.
The Queen visited the school as part of a series of "theme days", which Prince Philip and the Princess Royal are also undertaking.
Wednesday was set aside for Britain's army of unsung heroes to get Royal recognition, with the Royal Family members meeting scores of people involved in voluntary work.
As well as operating the "bully buster" scheme, the school, which has 450 pupils, makes use of volunteers from outside, with as many as 50 volunteers visiting each week.
It was at the school that the Queen met workers from the organisation CSV (Community Service Volunteers), as well as other pupils who had come in during their half term holiday.
Prince Philip joined the Queen at a school reception celebrating CSV's recruitment of its millionth volunteer.
"The children are themselves volunteers, as those who become bully busters volunteer to do so, and are then very carefully selected for peer mentoring.
"They are able to deal with about 25% of problems by themselves, without staff involvement."
One of the bully busters, Sarhana Hoque, said: "At first there were quite a lot of bullies, but now it's reduced to one or two a week.
"I enjoy it very much. It's nice to know I can help people."
A school spokeswoman added that the bully buster scheme was extremely effective, as "we don't have bullying in the school".
"Sometimes it can be really trivial things that children go to the bully busters about. It helps that they know they can speak to other children about it."
On Wednesday evening, a reception will be held at Buckingham Palace for about 650 volunteers.
Other volunteers involved in the Royal theme day included sixth-form students who run a literacy scheme at Arsenal Football Club.