West End star Kerry urges Suffolk students to 'be brave and dream big'

West End star Kerry Ellis encouraged students at a West Suffolk College online event

West End star Kerry Ellis encouraged students at a West Suffolk College online event for International Women's Day - Credit: Kerry Ellis

West End actress Kerry Ellis told a group of Suffolk students "Be brave, dream big and you can make it happen," during an online event.

Dame Martina Milburn, the group chief executive chief of The Princes Trust group, Nicola Beach, chief executive of Suffolk County Council, and beauty expert Amber Coates of Image Beauty Salon also took part.

The discussion for International Women's Day  was organised by West Suffolk College, based in Bury St Edmunds.

Dame Martina Milburn, the group chief executive chief of The Prince's Trust groupe

Dame Martina Milburn, the group chief executive chief of The Prince's Trust group, spoke to students at West Suffolk College - Credit: Prince's Trust

Two level three multimedia journalism students, Bethany Caulder and Lucy Elsden, questioned the panel on their life, careers and the importance of championing women’s rights across the globe.

Kerry Ellis said: “I grew up in Suffolk and wanted to celebrate and shout about how important we all are."


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The star, who has performed in the West End and on Broadway in shows such as Wicked and We Will Rock You, added: "My overall message is be brave, dream big and you can make it happen.”

In a wide-ranging discussion, the group reflected on issues raised by International Women's Day, which this year had the theme "Choose to challenge".

Nicola Beach, chief executive of Suffolk County Council

Nicola Beach, chief executive of Suffolk County Council - Credit: Suffolk County Council

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The message was that, although many improvements have been made in recent times, more work is still needed to be done to ensure more equality for women both inside and outside the work place.

Dame Martina Milburn, a former journalist, said: “It was great to chat to everyone and hopefully inspire them. I think we learn something new every day and my advice to everyone is that you need to be confident and trust your instincts.”

Nicola Beach commented: “Remain true to yourself, lead by example and don’t tolerate bad behaviour – but most importantly, do not underestimate your talents and skills.”

Mike Opukah, a business lecturer at the college, organised the online event.

He said, “All our guests were from a range of industries and it was brilliant that they gave up their time to share their experiences and inspire our staff and students. We would like to thank them all for giving up their time to support us.”

West Suffolk College has also organised a five-day science showcase event this week, with both live and pre-recorded online sessions to mark British Science Week.

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