Pupils were given moving speeches on the torment of alcohol and drug abuse from people in recovery.

Winchmore School, in Laburnum Road, welcomed former drug and alcohol abusers from the Amy Winehouse foundation to share their stories of anguish and recovery with sixth form pupils this morning.

The singer, who was from Southgate, died in July, 2011 aged 27.

Her family set up the foundation to prevent the misuse of drugs and alcohol in teenagers.

Year 12 pupils listened intently to the harrowing stories of five women who had struggled with their addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Hannah Cheetham, who spent time in rehab for alcoholism, said:  “It is so important to show our experiences with younger people and the underlying issue about why we took drugs and drank. It gives them a chance to open up about problems they might have.

“You are never too young to be an alcoholic or addict. In the society we live in, there is that pressure to drink and take drugs and it is so accessible.

“We aren’t saying never have a drink but we are telling people how it can become an addiction at a young age.

“I really wanted to help young people after coming out of rehab and I love working for the foundation. It is rewarding to see young people open up about their issues and share their stories.”

Pupils Ayan Omar and Ninthusha Navaratnam, both 17, said: “We learnt people who have addictions can seek help and that if people have problems they should open up, even if you can’t talk to family about it.

“It made us realise that we should give as much support as possible to people going through addictions to help resolve their problems.”

Elizabeth Djan, also 17, added: “When they were talking about their early days it was difficult to listen to because we are in the midst of that age, going to parties and it was a wake up call.”

Sixth form head Lisa Hughes said: “The programme gets the pupils to think about the triggers of alcohol and drugs and how people get into it. It is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils.”

The foundation will also hold workshops at the school to help pupils with self-esteem and peer pressure.