School pupils were delighted when a Strictly Come Dancing contestant sent a video message to thank them for their support.
Emma Barton, who went to Horndean Technology College, recorded a message with her partner Anton Du Beke thanking the school for getting behind them in the annual BBC One dancing competition.
Emma, who is an actress best known for her role in EastEnders, said: ‘I just wanted to say thank you so much for your support. I have such lovely memories of going to school there.
‘It’s lovely to still be in contact with you all.’
Horndean Technology College displayed her message in assemblies this week and pupils were overjoyed that she was thinking of them.
Olivia Fowler, 13, said: ‘I think she is really good at dancing and her and Anton have a chance of winning.’
‘It’s amazing to think that she came from a regular school like this. I love watching her dance’ added 13-year-old Matilda Tribe.
‘She followed her dreams and it encourages us to do the same.’
Another year nine pupil, Lucy Inwood, said she thought Emma ‘was fabulous’.
‘I like watching her dance so much, she’s an inspiration. She always gives 110 per cent’ added the 14-year-old.
George Canovan, 13, said if Emma won, it would be a great boost for the school.
‘It would be great to see someone from this school achieve so much, and I think she has a very good chance of winning. I think it would mean so much to the school.’
Emma, 42, and her partner Anton scored 37/40 last week at Blackpool Tower Ballroom for their American Smooth routine.
Headteacher Julie Summerfield said: ‘We’re very proud of Emma. The students have started to take a real interest in her competition and she’s doing herself proud.
‘I think the focal point is that she recognises that she started here and the impact she is having is highlighting to our pupils what is possible.’