MP praises Sunderland pupils’ Somme war grave mission

Alan Douglas (far left), from Springwell Dene Academy, explains to MP Bridget Phillipson the project that the school runs to enable pupils to travel to the military cemetries of Northern France.

Alan Douglas (far left), from Springwell Dene Academy, explains to MP Bridget Phillipson the project that the school runs to enable pupils to travel to the military cemetries of Northern France.

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AN MP gave top marks to a school’s history project which recognised the sacrifices made by Wearside soldiers.

Youngsters at Springwell Dene Academy in Sunderland journeyed to the First World War battlefield at The Somme in France earlier this year.

The children had called on residents who have relatives who were killed in the conflict to get in touch so they could find their memorials.

They then took a picture before leaving a cross on each memorial to commemorate their visit.

MP Bridget Phillipson visited the school to meet pupils and staff and find out more about their work.

Ms Phillipson, who represents Houghton and Sunderland South, said: “I’ve been really impressed with the work the school has done and the work they are doing to build things like this for the local community.

“They are encouraging young people to have a greater understanding of the local history of their area.”

It was the fourth year pupils have made the trip, and they have never failed to locate a grave or memorial.

Pupil Daniel Hill, 15, of Houghton, said: “We’ve learned lots about the war by doing the research before we went. It was quite upsetting because a lot of them were only 18 or 19 when they died, but the relatives of the people are really happy that we went.”

Ms Phillipson added: “It’s very important that young people build these inter-generational links so that they get a sense of history about their area.”