Our visit to Warminster Garrison in Wiltshire was a brilliant day for us and for all involved. We are incredibly grateful to Dr Andrew Murrison MP for being our prizegiver, and to Colonel Brooking, Major Andy Cooper and all at the Garrison for hosting us so kindly. We were also delighted to be joined by the Mayor of Warminster Councillor Tony Nicklin, and the Mayoress of Warminster. It was brilliant to be at Warminster Garrison, a longstanding, thriving military community where over 1500 service personnel are based. It is currently home to the Land Warfare Centre and several specialist training schools.
We were in Wiltshire to hand-deliver some special Certificates of Commendation to local children and young people who have worked very hard indeed on poetry, art, and songs commemorating the First World War. We were lucky enough to meet students from Bellefield Primary School, St Johns CE Primary School, Holbrook Primary School, The Mead Community Primary School, and The Springfields Academy.
We were warmly welcomed by Colonel Johnny Brooking, Garrison Commander. Colonel Brooking spoke about the value of commemoration to those in the Armed Forces today, and thanked the children and young people for their hard work.
First to receive their certificates were The Mead Community Primary School, who performed their amazing song. The group had help in creating the song from a local conductor and musician Grenville Jones, and sang beautifully about the optimism that so many troops felt that “It will all be over by Christmas!”, followed by the hardships of war.
The event had an abundance of music, as two of the other schools had also been working with Never Such Innocence Artist in Residence Bethzienna Williams in free songwriting workshops to create entries on the themes of unity and hope for the future, for Together: a UK-German Centenary Project. St. John’s CE Primary now performed their creation, called ‘La La Land’. The mixed group of year 6 and year 2 worked well together to write the song and then performed it beautifully.
La La Land
In a war every time
Imagine a time
Where we just enjoy life
We were then able to listen to a moving poem by a student from Holbrook Primary School about leaving family and friends to fight in the First World War, and two students from Holbrook then received their certificates from Dr Murrison. It was so lovely to have the whole class present to support the two entrants!
After being extremely impressed by songs and poems we awarded certificates to students from Springfields Academy for their artwork. All three of the students had shown remarkable creativity and their artwork was displayed as they received their certificates from Dr Murrison.
Closing the show were Bellefield Primary School – a multi-talented school who had submitted poems and artwork to the main competition independently, and then also worked with Bethzienna to write a song for Together! Their song of hope and unity was called Peaceful Land:
Because in our dreams
We have a plan
That we all live
On peaceful land
And in our dreams
We can see
We work together
Everyone from Bellefield sang incredibly well, and then received their well-deserved certificates from Dr Murrison.
After the performances we were treated to some brilliant activities; a ‘First World War Officer’ was stationed in one room and very kindly explained his equipment, uniform, and weapons to everyone, and we had the opportunity to look at two ‘Warrior’ armoured fighting vehicles. First used in 1916, tanks have come a long way since the First World War and seeing two modern examples was very interesting and of course exciting!
It was absolutely brilliant to meet so many local students from different schools, and to witness in person the incredible creativity and hard work that everyone had put into their entries. We can't wait to see what else the children and young people of Wiltshire have to offer!
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