News article from the Mirror:
She was once a Job Centre worker. But fame and fortune don’t appear to have gone to the head of M People singer Heather Small. When she received a message from a dole office colleague she last saw 28 years ago, the Search For The Hero singer was delighted to help. Heather ended up leading an entire primary school of surprised but delighted children in a sing-along of her hits.
The reunion between Heather and former Hammersmith job centre worker Elaine Mort came about after a fire alarm at a local school saw more than 200 children cowering from the pouring rain in a playground shelter. To keep their spirits up - while the fire brigade investigated - pupils began singing Search For The Hero which they had been practising for an assembly at Queen’s Manor Primary School in west London.
“It was a particularly cold and terrible day,” said Elaine, chair of the school’s parent-teachers association. “To cheer everyone and keep them warm Year 4 started singing Search For The Hero. This touched me so much that I contacted Heather through a website and told her the story. Lo and behold her manager emailed me. I had worked with her at Hammersmith Job Centre in the 80s but hadn’t been in touch for 28 years. Anyway she remembered me and said she would be delighted to come to QM and she did. She was very sweet, answered all the questions put to her by pupils and joined in all the songs. She told them about herself at primary school, said she loved the dinner ladies, which they loved, and was generally a very good egg.”
Heather, who also sang her London 2012 Olympic anthem Proud with the children, said: “It was a real honour to visit because Elaine is an old friend of mine and I know that the school does fantastic work.”
Queen’s Manor’s head Sonja Harrison said: “Our school motto is ‘Strive, Believe, Achieve’ and Heather upheld this with her advice to the children; she told them that they had to have a goal, believe in the themselves and work hard to achieve their goal. The children really enjoyed singing ‘Search For The Hero’ to Heather and the school community were amazed at her effortless performance of ‘Proud’ as she sang alongside the children.”