5th December 2000
Thatís Esther Award for Oli
Oli Watts, the 16 year-old creator of teen website pupiline.net has been presented with an achievement award by tv presenter and childrenís champion Esther Rantzen.
The youngster, currently studying for his GCSEs at the Gilberd School in Colchester, travelled to Southampton to receive the award presented to him on her programme Thatís Esther, due to be broadcast on ITV this Sunday, December 10.
It follows a visit to the pupiline office in Ipswich by a television crew from the programme who put together a film about how the website, which covers a range of issues relevant to youngsters, has helped the victims of bullying.
Oli, who was bullied at his previous school, initially created pupiline to help him to try to deal with his own feelings about bullying, but rapidly realised that his "for us by us" approach to the issue related to many other things both serious and fun, and decided to develop the website into an online magazine written and produced by a team of young people for all 11-17 year-olds.
The site has received high praise most recently from comedian Billy Connelly who met Oli at the BBC Peopleís Awards in which Oli was a finalist. When accepting his own award, the star said he thought Oli was a "sheer genius". A number of individuals and companies including Ipswich-based Internet firm KeConnect have invested thousands of pounds in Oliís site to help him develop it further.
Oli has spent several months working closely with KeConnect and London-based designers Design Bridge to give pupiline a really professional new look and to turn it from a technical point of view into a real state of the art website.
Presenting Oli with his Thatís Esther Award for Achievement, Ms Rantzen who has long been associated with the charity Childline, said she was incredibly impressed with Oliís work.
After receiving his award, Oli said: "It was really great to meet Esther Rantzen and an amazing experience being involved in the film Ė she was so impressed with pupiline and the thinking behind it. As someone who has campaigned so hard to ensure childrenís voices are heard, she really understood what it is I have tried to do."
Oli now has a team of about 30 people working on the site, with content that has been voted as "knockout" by leading teaching organisations, parents, young people and a number of celebrities.
- The Pupiline Team