Pupils get surprise visit from Emeli

(L-R) Lucy Sande (Emeli's sister), Alford Primary head teacher Liz MacLeod and Emeli Sande.
(L-R) Lucy Sande (Emeli's sister), Alford Primary head teacher Liz MacLeod and Emeli Sande.

Christmas has come and gone, and there will have been lots of amazing gifts and happy times during the holiday period but it will be hard to top the surprise staff and pupils from Alford Primary School received on the last day of term.

On Friday 21 December, 300 children from P1 to P7 were all gathered in their small hall to sing Christmas carols round the tree when the head teacher announced that a very special visitor was coming.

The children thought it was Santa again, since he had already been to see the youngest children at their parties. When the door opened, and Emeli Sande walked in, the welcome she got was deafening!

Head teacher, Liz MacLeod said: “I don’t think I will ever forget the look of surprise, shock and excitement on such happy faces.

“This was probably the hardest secret I have ever had to keep! I knew there was a chance she would visit, but it was not confirmed until Thursday. None of the staff knew and so it was a total surprise for them too.

“Emeli spoke to the children and reminisced about sitting in assemblies in the same hall when she was a pupil in the school. She laughed at how it now looked so much smaller to her.

“She presented us with her framed award for selling a million copies of her album. This award is to be shared with the academy and will be displayed in our joint dining hall.

Emeli then asked if we would like her to sing. You can imagine the response to that! She sat down at the piano and sang her hit “Next to Me” with all the children joining in the chorus, and “Clown”, her latest release. The visit ended with children having the opportunity to ask her lots of questions.

“It has certainly been a very special year for our very special ex-pupil. To think that she has performed at the Olympic Stadium and in the Royal Albert Hall, and yet was happy to return to sing in a little primary school shows just how grounded she is.

She reminded me that her very first solo performance was in our school Christmas production in 1997. She sang the part of Mary in “Hosanna Rock”. She was only ten at the time, but even then she had a voice that was remarkable. Little did I know what great things were in store for her. I did, however, keep the programme for that concert and was able to give her a copy. She was amazed I still had it…I must have known it would be worth keeping!”

Emeli Sandé has since entered the record books with her top selling album, Our Version of Events. The singer’s debut album has been a top seller for 47 weeks. No other solo artist has spent so many consecutive weeks in the album charts top ten. Our Version of Events has currently sold 1.43million copies in the UK.

The Beatles are the only other recording artists to have spent longer in the top ten after their debut, Please Please Me, was in the charts for 62 weeks.