Leaning on the legacy of the past - Head Girl Emma Clarke leans on RN Veteran bernard Kelly (81) who is glad to be of support. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy in Stockton-on-Tees has taken the opportunity to mark 100 years since the hostilities of the First World war that saw 100’s of thousands slaughtered in the fields of Passchendaele, to commemorate with a whole school celebration of remembrance.

Passchendaele was the third battle of Ypres and one of the most brutal conflicts of World War 1; more than half a million combatants lost their lives.  As the battle took place between 31st July and 10th November in West Flanders, Belgium, Ian Ramsey CofE Academy chose Friday 10th November for their Remembrance celebrations to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the ending of the battle of Passchendaele.

Staff and students of Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy, which was rated ‘Good’ in their recent Ofsted inspection this term, were joined by The Rt Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow for the celebrations.

Head Girl Emma Clarke (15) talks with veteran Bernard Kelly, RN Retired (81). Background Head Boy Lewis Simon talks with a veteran and member of the DLI & Rifles Association.
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

Students spent the morning learning about the importance of Remembrance; learning about World War 1, 2 and on-going wars; learning about poppies and why they are so integral to Remembrance. Veterans of the DLI and Rifles Associations joined along with the whole Academy in a remembrance service presided over by Bishop Mark.

Students who are members of Cadets or uniformed groups played an active role in the day, including marching with the DLI and Rifles veterans and forming a meeting contingent at the start of the day.

Mr Brian Janes, Head of School at Ian Ramsey CofE Academy (Part of the DaySpring Trust along with sister Academy The Venerable Bede CofE Academy in Sunderland) said: “The day was a tribute to Remembrance and to highlight the importance of observing it, not just by wearing a poppy, but by continuing to educate our students about the truly heroic men and women who gave and continue to give their lives for us.”

Mrs Antonia Chapman-Jones, Senior Leader Director of English, who coordinated the event, said: “We feel that Remembrance is an important time and one which allows children to reflect on its purpose. People wear poppies and visit a church, but sometimes, the true reasons for Remembrance are lost in the minutiae of day to day life.  That is why we decided to host a celebration of Remembrance and take a morning to educate our students on the importance of Remembrance and the men and women who have given their lives for our country.”

Bishop Mark, given a salute of honour on his arrival.
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

Bishop Mark in his sermon said: “I wonder whether the best and most honouring way we can remember those that gave their lives, is to try to find some way to overcome the hatred, and the place where that starts is within each one of us.

“As a Christian I hope that I now know myself well enough to know that I find it impossible to overcome the bad things in myself on my own and that’s where I know that I need to ask God day after day after day to make me more loving and more understanding and more compassionate so that I can play my part in making the world a more peaceful and Christ-like place. That seems to me to be the best and most honouring way of remembering those who have died in the great war is about the 20th and 21st century. I wonder if you may like to think that way too?”

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