School girl’s impassioned argument on future of historic Greek sculptures sways Bury MP

Freya Clayton holds her letter from Jo Churchill next to the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum ANL-161203-102423001
Freya Clayton holds her letter from Jo Churchill next to the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum ANL-161203-102423001
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An 11-year-old girl’s impassioned argument on the highly contested ownership of Ancient Greek marble sculptures has swayed an MP’s stance on the issue.

Freya Clayton, of Beyton, was ‘appalled’ when she learnt about the plight of the ‘Elgin Marbles’, which Greece has been looking to reclaim from the British Museum for years.

The sculptures, also known as the Parthenon Marbles, were acquired by Lord Elgin 200 years ago but Greece says they were taken illegally.

After debating the issue in lessons at the Creative Education Centre, in Fornham All Saints, Freya wrote to Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill - insisting the historic items should be returned to Greece.

To her delight, Mrs Churchill responded and said she was ‘swayed’ to Freya’s position based on the strength of her argument.

In her letter, Mrs Churchill said: “It certainly is an interesting point you raise, and passionately argued.

“I think there are legitimate points from both sides of the discussion on this issue.

“However, based on the points you raise and the balance of the argument, I think I’m swayed to your position.

“To that end, I’m going to write to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to see what his thoughts are.

“I’ll send you his response when I receive it.”

Eddie Hepper, director of education at the Creative Education Centre, was impressed with Mrs Churchill’s letter and thinks it taught Freya and her peers that they can make a difference.

He said: “I was very surprised that Jo Churchill actually had thought this through, knew her stuff on the whole issue and responded in a very personal way.

“It’s great because it’s getting children involved in the democratic process - something a lot of young people aren’t engaged in as they don’t feel they can make a difference. Freya showed you can make a difference and for her that’s a life lesson.

“What we try to do is make learning real.”

“Freya was delighted to have such a positive response and hopes progress can be made reinstating the marbles back home in Geeece.”

Freya has since visited the British Museum to see the collection of sculptures.

The centre follows a Montessori based creative education and currently teaches 13 children, aged between five and 11. Visit