Schools pay tribute to fallen for Remembrance weekend

Red House Academy Remembrance morning in memory of Michael Tench
Red House Academy Remembrance morning in memory of Michael Tench

Schools across Sunderland and East Durham have been paying their own tribute to the fallen for Remembrance weekend.

Red House Academy unveiled a memorial to former pupil Michael Tench, who died in action, as part of its Remembrance activities.

The plaque unveildd at Red House Academy in memory of Michael Tench

The plaque unveildd at Red House Academy in memory of Michael Tench

Michael, who attended the school between 1999 and 2004, became one of the youngest casualties in the Iraq conflict when he was killed by a roadside bomb blast in Basra. He was just 18.

“Students gathered to remember those who have lost their lives in active service in all conflicts since WW1,” said Learning Environment Officer Gary Cullen.

“As part of the assembly students gave thanks to men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country including Private Michael Tench, a former student of Red House Academy.

“At 11 o’clock students met and gathered on the yard for a two-minute silence led by our cadets and the Last Post played by Joe Beattie, from the Salvation Army.”

The pupils have been wonderful - they have taken it really seriously and listened very attentively during the assemblies.

Simon Wareham

Southmoor School held a series of events throughout the week, inviting dignitaries from across Wearside.

“We have had four assemblies this week, one for each of the school houses,” said director of personal development Simon Wareham.

“We had the Mayor in school on Tuesday, the Rev Andrew Dowsett from Sunderland Minster on Wednesday and Thursday and Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, along with PC Andrew Carlton, our local police beat manager, on Friday.

“The pupils have been wonderful - they have taken it really seriously and listened very attentively during the assemblies.”

Red House Academy Remembrance morning in memory of Michael Tench

Red House Academy Remembrance morning in memory of Michael Tench

Washington School has been running a three-year project on Remembrance and created a unique artwork for local people.

“Students come in after school and we look at the two World Wars and different ways to involve the community,” said finance, marketing and community engagement officer Nichola Williamson.

“We designed a one-metre high Poppy and invited members of the forces and their families living in the area to come in and put their fingerprints on the Poppy as part of the project.

“We had about 250 people come in and add their fingerprints, so we had a bigger response than we expected. It is great to see the community getting behind the project like this.

Julie Elliott MP with Southmoor head pupils Lauren Green and Poppy Butler (R)

Julie Elliott MP with Southmoor head pupils Lauren Green and Poppy Butler (R)

“It is very good for the students’ confidence to see people supporting projects they have come up with.”

Trina Walker, who manages Ouston Community Centre, suggested the idea of a Remembrance Service to bring together children and staff from the Ouston Primary, St Benet’s Primary, as well as Durham County Councillor Alison Batey.

Steven and Linda Cockburn, whose son Serjeant Steven Campbell, from Pelton, died in Afghanistan in March 2010, aged 30, when a bomb went off under a bridge, also attended.

Trina said: “It’s not something we’ve had at the centre before so we thought we would give it a try and bring some community spirit back.

“We wanted to bring together the schools, the residents and really cross that barrier, and everyone has volunteered their services.

“The service was prepared by an organisation called Christian Fellowship in Ouston and it featured a bit about the history of why we have Remembrance and wear poppies.”

Southmoor Academy Remembrance  service.

Southmoor Academy Remembrance service.

Dene Community School in Peterlee created a memorial garden, with pupils planting around 300 poppies on the school field.

A service was also held at Durham Constabulary’s headquarters at Aykley Heads in Durham.

Dozens of officers and staff attended the event, which was led by Reverend Adrian Gatrill.

Following a two minute silence, wreaths were laid by the Chief Constable, Mike Barton, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, Ron Hogg, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, and representatives of the Police Federation, Unison and members of the Durham Mini Police.

Washington School's fingerprint poppy display

Washington School's fingerprint poppy display

Children, residents, councillors and Serjeant Steven Campbell's parents joined together for the service at Ouston Community Centre.

Children, residents, councillors and Serjeant Steven Campbell's parents joined together for the service at Ouston Community Centre.

Dene Community School pupils Katelyn Daniels and Christopher Pearson add their poppy's to the school Remembrance Garden.

Dene Community School pupils Katelyn Daniels and Christopher Pearson add their poppy's to the school Remembrance Garden.

Members of Durham Mini Police took part in the ceremony.

Members of Durham Mini Police took part in the ceremony.