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Ipswich singer Roma Manteiga-Nicholson visits Hillside Primary School during Anti-Bullying Week

Children at a primary school in Ipswich were told to follow their dreams and stay strong as part of an anti-bullying message from a Suffolk singer.

Roma Manteiga-Nicholson, known as Roma, recounted her own experiences of the physical, verbal and online bullying she suffered as a teenager to a group of children from Hillside Primary School.

The 18-year-old – who released her first album in 2018 aged 13 – spoke to a group from Years 5 and 6 and their questions as part of activities to mark Anti-Bullying Week.

Roma (top right) with headteacher Mrs Wass and year 5 and 6 pupils. Picture: Hillside Primary School
Roma (top right) with headteacher Mrs Wass and year 5 and 6 pupils. Picture: Hillside Primary School

In addition to detailing her experiences and her journey to becoming a musician, she also performed a rendition of her song, Stronger, which covered the topic of bullying, as well as the Judy Garland classic Over The Rainbow.

Hillside Primary School’s headteacher Mrs Wass, described Roma’s visit as ‘inspirational’.

She said: “Thank you to Roma for sharing her stories and being part of our themed Anti-Bullying week at Hillside.”

Roma’s visit was organised by Mike Grimwood, the safguarding lead at Hillside Primary School.

He said he first met her when she was nine years old and auditioned for Ipswich Has Got Talent.

Mr Grimwood noted her performance got her sent straight to the final.

He added: said: “Roma is a caring, compassionate and strong individual and it has been a pleasure to see that her life journey has brought her success at such a young age.

“I have no doubt we will be hearing more about her in the future.”

In addition to her musical work, Roma has also raised more than £22,000 for Suffolk charities.

After her school visit she said: “Speaking to these amazing children, I hope that I have shown them there is a way to beat the bullies and that by moving forward they can stay strong, be kind and follow their dreams.”

Hillside Primary School is run by Active Learning Trust.

Chief executive Lynsey Holzer said: “It has been very important for us to support Anti-Bullying week across the trust and to ensure that all our children and young people feel empowered to follow the theme of this year’s campaign and ‘make a noise about bullying’.

“Roma’s visit embodies this perfectly and shows how her determination has helped her to thrive, despite some very difficult times.

“This message was really inspiring for everyone to hear.”