CAMPAIGNING for ginger people to be treated the same as those with other coloured hair has earned a Hexham schoolgirl a top reporter’s prize.

Olivia Courtney (12) entered the BBC Young Reporter competition and campaigned for Ginger Justice - her personal experience of growing up with ginger hair and what that has meant to her.

Olivia said: “There is a lot more to me than just the colour of my hair. I think sometimes people think it’s cool to have ginger hair, but although there are many well respected celebrities such as Jess Glynne, there are lots of times in films where the ‘ginger’ character is the silly, geeky one which just adds to the stereotype that people seem to have of gingers.”

Olivia also wrote about how a lot of adults tell her she has beautiful hair, but that wasn’t how she was made to feel and that being called ‘ginger’ made her feel more like she was cursed with it. She said: ”It made me think if I could change the colour of my hair then maybe people would like me and I started to lose confidence in myself.”

Olivia said that she actually felt that during lockdown she had got her confidence back, that the down time has helped put things in perspective and not having to worry about what other people think about her has really helped.

“I feel much happier now about being me and about being ginger and I wanted to write about it so people can realise that sometimes what they think is okay to call someone is not always okay for that person.

“I also wanted to share my story because this kind of thing doesn’t just happen to me it happens to other people as well - if they fit a stereotype then they have to live with that stereotype whether it’s having ginger hair, different coloured skin, a different religion etc. This topic is really important to me because I know how it made me feel to be treated differently just because of my hair colour, how little comments build up and have a big impact.

“When you have something a little different about you, you become an easy target at the slightest little thing and it can make you feel lost and think there is something wrong with you and I don’t think it is ok for anyone to feel like that. It is for all these reasons, and many more that I wanted justice for gingers.”

Olivia added: “I was totally shocked when I found out that I was the winner for the north of England, I really didn’t expect it at all. It’s been lovely to be able to tell my story and I hope it helps other children who have maybe have lost their confidence because they feel a bit different.

“We’re all different in some way and that’s a real positive so now instead of hating my ginger hair, I love it.”