Mark opens Centenary Peace garden at Lea Primary School(October 21, 2014)
Mark was invited to a commemorative World War I Garden at Lea Community Primary School on Friday 17th October 2014.
Mark with headteachers and pupils from Lea, Grange and Barnacre Road Primary Schools. Also pictured is the great nephew of remembered Preston soldier, Mr English (far left).
Pupils from the school along with the local military and veteran gardening community - the charity Dig In - have come together to plan and prepare the green space to highlight the centenary of World War 1. It will serve as a peaceful and calm area of the school where children may go to be at one with their own thoughts as well as serving as a reminder of the brave men and women who gave their lives during the war.
Since September, all classes throughout the school have been taught about the events and impacts of World War 1 through themed learning. Year 6 pupils at the school were also recently involved in a pilot drama scheme project run by the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster in conjunction with the Museum of Lancashire and Lancashire Infantry Museum. The project helped the pupils to understand the life and conditions of a soldier involved in World War 1.
Year 6 pupils were also part of a group of five Preston Primary schools who visited Belgium and France together, visiting sites including the Menin gate, Tyne Cot cemetery, The Somme and the Thievpal memorial. They paid their respects to local Preston soldier, Private John Francis English from the 1st/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment who along with thousands of other missing soldiers, gave his life to the war and is remembered at this memorial. Pupils spent time researching the background of the Pte English who was the great uncle of the husband of one of the staff members, Mrs English.
Head teacher Lynne Slater said: “We feel both as a school, and as a group of schools working together, that our teachers are providing our children with a whole host of learning opportunities both within and out of the classroom that will promote learning, develop many crucial skills, including empathy and compassion whilst focussing on this incredibly significant part of our history.”
Mark said: “ I feel honoured to be invited to Lea Primary school and have been very impressed with the hard work that the staff, governors, Dig-In volunteers, the local community, parents and especially the pupils have put into commemorating this very important event. I am proud that the pupils that paid their respects to fallen soldiers in France and Belgium were the perfect ambassadors of Preston."
View the photo gallery here.