‘Please tell us about the war years’ – school seeking people who lived through it

JFK Primary needs YOU!... (l to r) pupils Bethan Gallon, eight, Euan Lowes, nine and Oliver Middleton, eight).
JFK Primary needs YOU!... (l to r) pupils Bethan Gallon, eight, Euan Lowes, nine and Oliver Middleton, eight).
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PUPILS at a Wearside primary school are desperately seeking pensioners to help them learn about the war years.

Youngsters at John F Kennedy Primary School are embarking on a year-long project, learning about the Second World War, but are having trouble finding old schoolchildren to relive their memories.

Judith Monaghan, a teacher at the Columbia school, which was formerly called Glebe School, said: “Year 4 children are learning about the Second World War and as part of that we would like to find out what life was like for children at our school during those years.

“We want to invite people who were pupils at our school during this time to come into school to talk to our pupils about their memories of wartime and how it affected them as children.”

Mrs Monaghan said she has sent letters out to local groups and care homes, but they have had a very disappointing response and are hoping by highlighting it in the Echo some pensioners will come forward.

She explained: “When the school celebrated its centenary in 2008 we made a booklet. A former pupil wrote to us saying there wasn’t anything in it about the war years and he talked about his experiences.

“That’s what started this idea off, and I am trying to contact him again.”

The school has been awarded a £1,000 grant from the community chest to help fund the project and the children aim to produce a booklet about the school and area during the Second World War.

They have already begun their research, looking at old school records and log books, which are kept at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.

Mrs Monaghan said: “The project will create a link between the older and younger generations. Also, because of the age of the school and its place in the local community, we feel it is important to record these memories as part of the heritage of Washington.”

Anyone willing to take part and share their memories with the children, should contact Mrs Monaghan at the school on 219 3745 after the school holidays.