Boy standing for Scottish Youth Parliament in brother’s name

John Bendo campaigns for the elections
John Bendo campaigns for the elections

By Cara Sulieman

THE BROTHER of a boy who was killed in a road accident is standing for the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Fourteen-year-old John Bendo hopes that he can campaign for better road safety if his election bid is successful.

His brother, David, was just 17 when he was hit by a lorry during his lunch break in February last year.

And now John is hoping to highlight the problems of safety around construction sites as part of his manifesto.

“Make schools safer”

His brother was killed while building work was under way to replace Tynecastle High School.

He said: “I came up with the manifesto based on things that I feel really strongly about. My big brother was killed in an accident and I want to make schools safer and construction sites safer.

“Road safety is one of the big things I want to change because I know what it feels like and it was really hard.”

But it isn’t just road safety that John is keen on; he wants to show that young people are not all bad.

“We’re not all chavs”

He said: “I want young people to have more of a decision about what could affect them.

“I just want to get involved because young people get a bad name and I want everyone to realise that young people are not all chavs and that we do want to achieve things.”

John has already built up a huge amount of support through his campaign and has spoken to most of the classes in his school to plug his manifesto.

Isobel Gilmour, principal teacher of guidance at St Augustine’s, said: “John is the first candidate we have had at the school so it makes it even more special for us.

“His main aims are more choice in decisions that affect young people, more groups and activities to be set up for young people, and to highlight the good that young people achieve.

“Really personal”

“He also wants construction sites to be kept safe where there are young people nearby, especially at schools.

“This is obviously a really personal one for John.”

The Bendo family moved to Scotland from Albania in 1997 and settled in Edinburgh in 2005.

John’s father, Laze, said: “We are very proud of him for doing this because he is so young.”

David Bendo’s old school, Tynecastle High set up the David Bendo cup in April last year in memory of the tragic schoolboy.

The Scottish Youth Parliament elections will be held from September 7 to 11.

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