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Schoolgirl poet’s words of wisdom impress Sir David Attenborough

Life on Earth’s Attenborough ‘honoured’ that his shows inspired 11-year-old Laila’s poem

27 July, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Laila Tempesta with the letter she received from Sir David Attenborough

SCHOOLGIRL Laila Tempesta usually puts pen to paper to write poems about her love of athletics.

But in a light-bulb moment this year, she knew she had to send her thoughts on the future of the world to famed presenter and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Little did she expect that months later, when an envelope arrived at her Courtney Road home with her name on it, that it would be reply from the Blue Planet narrator himself.

Laila, 11, said: “I was really happy, he is a really significant man.

“He does a lot to help the planet. There are lots of bad people out there that do not help, they do the opposite, so it’s quite amazing that someone can make an impact like that.”

The talented youngster, who has just finished her final year at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, in Lower Holloway, started writing when she was about six years old. Her first love was musing about athletics, going on to become a member of the London Heathside Athletics Club. But her trips to National Trust sites and travelling around the country are the experiences that got her thinking about writing to Sir David.

Sir David Attenborough

“I get ideas out of nowhere and I think I was thinking back to my holidays, and I knew my ability to write, so I knew it would make sense to put it in a poem [to Sir David], you can write something beautiful,” said Laila, who in September will start at La Sainte Union Catholic School in Highgate.

Her poem begins with a note to the broadcaster: “You’re an inspiration and a star that shines in the night sky. The beauty of this planet is being destroyed but you have given me the inspiration to write a poem that describes how I feel about our earth today.”

Sir David’s letter responded: “I am honoured to know that you should think so highly of my programmes that you were inspired to write this fabulous poem. Thank you for taking the trouble to send it to me.”

Laila’s mother Anna said her daughter’s skills of writing poems and lyrics are one of a kind.

Ms Tempesta said: “I’m really proud of her as I find poems quite hard, to make them rhyme and put them together. When things came to her head when she was younger, she’d just write them down. She’s so young and she goes so deep, I don’t know where she gets it all from.”

Laila still has her sights set on becoming an athlete when she grows up but will continue to write. “I like to keep some of my poems to myself,” she said.

Laila’s poem…

The last tree fell to the ground – the last call of the white rhino rang. Clouds of pollution. Waves of plastic destroying all that we depend on. The extinct rhino, the endangered elephant, the endangered lion. GONE! And never to be seen again. I look around and see the last bird yet to fly. Soon, the last human yet to live. Beautiful but unafraid – the majestic lion cries the agony. There is nothing yet to blame apart from us, us humans – killers of all animals, killers of all plants. We are hanging on to the last string – the last life. This world of humans doesn’t deserve to live. Our planet is crumbling and turning into smithereens. Hearts beating in ore we pray for the conservation of this planet Earth. Air turning into pollution. Humans turning into corpses. Earth turns into granules. A grain of sand compared to the depths of the universe. All is gone, all is dead. We just wait for Earth to start again. And there goes the last human, there goes the last hoot of the last bird. There goes the last roar of the tiger – and there goes nothing.


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