New pilot to test DNA to reveal your ancestry

Show Racism the Red Card brought famous faces together to test their DNA

Show Racism the Red Card DNA event at the Centre for Life, Emmerdale stars John Middleton and Charlie Hardwick
Show Racism the Red Card DNA event at the Centre for Life, Emmerdale stars John Middleton and Charlie Hardwick

Taking a look at their ancestry, these famous faces were involved in the launch of a special pilot project.

Anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card invited former Sunderland footballer Gary Bennett, Tyne Tees presenter Pam Royle and Emmerdale stars Charlie Hardwick and John Middleton to take part in a project looking at testing DNA to reveal your ancestry.

The project by Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC) will be taken to a pilot school in the new academic year with the view to testing out whether knowing more about your own genetic ancestry can help in the longer term impact of anti-racism education.

Show Racism the Red Card DNA event at the Centre for Life, former Sunderland player Gary Bennett
Show Racism the Red Card DNA event at the Centre for Life, former Sunderland player Gary Bennett
 

Laura Piddock, manager of the education team at SRTRC, said: “Today is a partnership between SRTRC and DNA Worldwide and was funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

“It’s about trying to give young people an opportunity to have their DNA ancestry tested. We know the most pressing issue at the moment in our country in terms of anti-racism is anti-immigration. We know we need to talk about difficult issues of belonging and identity.

“In a unique way to do this we look at their ancestry coupled with an anti-racism message.

“Everyone today had their DNA tested to look at their ancestry. We are trying to couple it with the anti-racism message, looking at how immigration is nothing new, looking at issues of identity and belonging, what it means to be British or English.

“This was a really unique way we are trying to do, to offer young people these tests to offer them the chance to look at their history.”

The pilot scheme, created by Wendy Brown at the charity, will be rolled out in a North East school in the new term, offering young people the chance to look at their ancestry. But Laura emphasised that it was an opt-in system which was ethically tested and any young people taking part would be fully informed before doing so.

“We want to open up the space to talk about migration and immigration in a safe environment and counter some myths,” she said.

Show Racism the Red Card DNA event at the Centre for Life, Pam Royal
Show Racism the Red Card DNA event at the Centre for Life, Pam Royal
 

Ged Grebby, the charity’s chief executive, said he hoped the project would make people realise that diversity plays a key role in the country.

“I think the main thing is we are trying to get people to understand the country we have now, has changed,” he said.

“They do not need to have a DNA test, but looking at their family tree they may find there may be some surprises.”

He added: “It’s about young people being able to think about what makes up the country and that’s what makes it interesting, the fact there’s a lot of mixing.

“Britain is very diverse. Even if you think you were born and bred in Northumberland, there will be some diversity in your family tree.

“Diversity is our strength. If everyone is the same, the world would be an extremely boring place.”

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