Poppy fields bloomed in Newcastle when a secondary school commemorated Remembrance Day in colourful style. Staff and students at St Mary’s Catholic School transformed the building’s atrium into a ‘Field of Remembrance’, with the stage covered in hand-made poppy wreaths.

The stage was a focal point, and was set up in the week leading up to Remembrance Day to help us commemorate the sacrifices made by so many, both in the First World War, and all wars and conflicts since 1918,” said Headteacher Emma Patterson.

Our Field of Remembrance display was put together by the history department in school, and was made up of poppy wreaths that all students in Years 7, 8 and 9 had completed in history lessons. Students chose an individual soldier and wrote on a poppy, as well as writing a Remembrance message or reflection on the poppy. As well as red poppies to remember soldiers, medical personnel and others who have given their lives for us today, we also included purple poppies in the display this year, to remember the animals that also supported war efforts in the past.

In addition to the week-long display, Remembrance Services were held for every year group at the school, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

All students took an active part in the Remembrance Services through their responses to prayers and by observing the two-minute silence,” continued Miss Patterson. “A large group of students also led aspects of the service with students from across the year groups represented. Students made up the wonderful choir and orchestra in the service. Others led readings and prayers, with a student playing the ‘Last Post’ and a group taking part in a short drama within the service.

Adding to the sense of occasion, students belonging to Cadet organisations and groups such as Scouts and Guides, were invited to wear their uniforms for the event, and to flank the atrium as their fellow students arrived. They also played a role in the service itself, lowering flags and laying wreaths.

The theme of remembrance was also the focal point in tutor groups across the week, with students selling poppies in aid of the Royal British Legion.

We feel it is very important for our students and staff to come together as a school community each year to commemorate and remember the sacrifices made for our freedoms today,” added Miss Patterson. “It is a chance for us to reflect on the human cost of war, from the First World War through to more recent conflicts. Some of our students also have relatives who died in the First and Second World Wars, as well as family or friends who are currently in the armed forces or experiencing conflict around the world today, and, therefore, it gives us an opportunity to remember those close to us.

Our students demonstrate much reverence and respect when parking in our Remembrance Services and other Remembrance activities in school. They are a credit to St Mary’s and to their families.

Article prepared on behalf of Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust by Barking Dog Media. For more information email: david@barkingdogmedia.co.uk or call 07754 271086.