PUPILS are coming together with German youngsters to re-enact the Christmas football truce game of 1914.
The children will climb out of a specially-built trench at Seaham School of Technology to greet each other and play a game of football on the school’s No Man’s Land, while the school choir sings carols in both languages.
The trench, with its imitation barbed wire and rats, is 12 metres long and about five metres deep.
It has already been widely used for history lessons and has been visited by pupils from other schools in the county.
Headteacher David Shield, said: “It has been amazing to see the creation of an authentic historical landscape which is now a focal point for living history, and a visual reminder of one of the key moments in the conflict.
“We look forward to welcoming our friends from Germany to help us all understand exactly what happened and what is was like.”
The school’s international team developed the project with pupils from the county’s twinned area of Kreis Wesel, and forms part of the Football Remembers programme – which has seen the Premier League, Football League and the FA team up with the British Council, to encourage national commemoration of this year’s centenary of the Christmas Truce, one of the most iconic moments of the First World War.
Councillor John Robinson said: “This historical re-enactment reflects the moment when fighting troops recognised their adversaries as human beings and for a moment let a glimmer of friendship shine on a bleak and foreboding landscape.
“This project helps encourage reflection and promote humanity in our young learners by working in partnership from our friends from Germany.”
The 15 pupils on each team, all aged 14 or 15, will be kitted out in period shirts from Beamish Museum.
A soldier and a footballer
PUPILS will be visiting the Stadium of Light to research the life of former Sunderland captain Charlie Buchan.
Buchan, pictured, was a soldier on the Western Front and was involved in a push on the Somme, the Ypres offensive and the Battle of Bourlon Wood, in which he was awarded the Military Medal for courage.
His life will be compared to the founder of Schalke football club, Willy Gies, who also served during the war.
Virginia Crompton, executive producer of Football Remembers, said: “This is a remarkable project from Seaham School of Technology.
“It’s wonderful to see how they have been able to take the idea of Football Remembers and involve their partners from Germany, as well as the local community, to create this act of commemoration and remembrance.
“The games of football played during the Christmas Truce of 1914 served to bring people together in the spirit of peace and friendship, and it’s inspiring to see that same spirit occurring one hundred years on”.