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Byker pupils learn about Remembrance Day

Over 60 year 6 pupils from Byker Primary School in Newcastle learnt about the importance of Remembrance Day from veterans who have served in the military.

The veterans, from local charity Launchpad, visited the school this week to explain why we remember those who served and honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

The resident veterans living at nearby Avondale House, collected large pebbles and stones from a recent trip to St. Mary’s Lighthouse and gave them to the pupils who then designed and painted their own stones with poppies or words of remembrance.

The pupils were also invited to participate in some creative writing by writing a small verse on a poppy head they made from card explaining what remembrance means to them.

The stones and poppy heads were displayed at St. Michael’s Church in Byker for their Remembrance service this morning with some of the pupils and two staff in attendance.

The stones and poppy heads will be displayed again on Remembrance Sunday before being collected and brought back to Avondale House on the Byker Estate where staff and residents have created a garden of remembrance.

Phil Thompson, Manager of Avondale House, said:

“Avondale House is located right in the heart of the Byker Estate and it is important our staff and residents engage with the community, in particular the local school.

“We have a great partnership with Byker Primary School and have visited many times before, more recently for Armed Forces Day, which was very successful. It’s important for children to learn about what Remembrance Day is, the significance of the poppy, why we fall silent at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month and what this means to armed forces personnel.

“Visiting schools, talking to the children and inviting them to take part in arts and crafts activities is important but following this up by attending our Remembrance Service and seeing their artwork on display in the church and then at Avondale House is something I hope, they will remember for a long time.”

Rob Watson, Assistant Headteacher at Byker Primary School, said:

“The relationship that we have with both Avondale House and Launchpad is one that Byker Primary School really values. 

“All year groups do some work around Remembrance Day, but it was wonderful for our Year 6 students to work with our partners to gain a deeper understanding with regards to the meaning of the day itself. The creative writing and poetry that was created was really moving and we are proud to have it displayed. 

“I’ve had children and parents speak to me about the learning and activities that took place on that day which just goes to show how appreciative they were for the opportunity, and how important Remembrance Day is to our community as a whole.”

Launchpad received £281 funding from Byker Community Trust (BCT), part of Karbon Homes, through the BCT Community Partnership Fund to contribute towards the costs of the materials needed for the activities, such as paint, brushes, paper and pens etc.

Lynsey Ward, Head of Housing and Community (Byker) at Byker Community Trust, said:

“This is a really great project bringing together the veterans’ charity and a local school to raise awareness and the importance of Remembrance Day. The children came up with some very creative designs and poems and it was lovely to see them all on display at the service this morning.”

Launchpad provides accommodation and support to veterans to help them stabilise their lives and make a successful transition from military to civilian life. The charity has supported over 525 veterans from its two houses at Avondale House in Newcastle upon Tyne and Speke House in Liverpool.

Avondale House has supported 228 veterans since it opened on the Byker Estate in 2013.

To support Launchpad, you can donate online at https://veteranslaunchpad.org.uk/get-involved/donate/

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