A SCHOOL’S efforts to rededicate its war memorial have taken a step forward as ceremony plans are finalised.
The memorial is thought to be the only one in a comprehensive in the North East and was donated by Durham Johnston pupils between 1918 and 1920 to remember those lost in the Great War.
It was installed in the old school site in South Street and later expanded in 1947 to feature the names from those killed in the Second World War then put on show at its original Crossgate Moor premises in the following year.
A total of 107 names are on the memorial, with the majority of those who lost their lives members of the Durham Light Infantry.
The new display will be unveiled next month in front of students and past pupils in the main hall, built as part of a new £23million complex opened two years ago.
The cost of the rededication was not available as part of the rebuilding programme, leading headteacher Carolyn Roberts to launch an appeal to parents and the wider community to find the funds.
The project has been supported by parents, former students and other backers, with a cabinet maker offering to carry out the work in kind. A £2,000 donation was given by the Wardens of Durham City Freemen.
The money was presented to students at the Freemen’s Candlemas Guild Day meeting at Durham Town Hall, with the teenagers making a presentation about the history of the memorial.
Headteacher Carolyn Roberts said the memorial project and the new buildings have prompted the 110-year-old school to look back at its history.
“We have been spending more time thinking about the past and history of the school,” she said.
“We hear so much of war that it is important to help young people understand that human resilience and selflessness may still survive under terrible circumstances.”
Among those named on the memorial is Isidore Newman, who grew up in one of the city’s terraced streets and attended the school before training as a teacher.
He was recruited in the Second World War to the Special Operations Executive, which carried out covert work being German lines.
He helped the French resistance movement as a wireless operator before being betrayed, captured and shot in Mauthausen concentration camp, aged 28 in 1944.