Soldiers’ stories brought to life for Remembrance

Nov 9, 2020 | Local News

An interactive programme which uses actors, virtual sessions and objects to tell the stories of County Durham soldiers has been produced to teach children the importance of Remembrance.

Durham County Council and the Durham Light Infantry Collection (DLI) have put together ‘We Will Remember Them’, a programme to be used in schools to bring the stories of local soldiers into the classroom.

Brought to life by actor Marty Bloomfield of Circurama, playing the part of his real Great Uncle Hugh McDonald who served with the DLI, two virtual activity sessions are being delivered to schools via video link for assemblies, individual class assemblies, or as a workshop to help children learn about Remembrance Day.

The sessions have been developed to be Covid-secure and pupils taking part in the assembly will receive an individual remembrance token representing a real soldier that they can keep.

The workshop involves exploring a box of objects which tell the stories of different DLI soldiers from across time periods and conflicts, including the First and Second World War, Borneo and Afghanistan, with activities including discussion, creative writing and art.

This includes a poem written by the daughter of Corporal Lee Brownson, from Bishop Auckland, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Each box also contains an individual embroidery created by the Embroiderers Guild, inspired by the embroideries held in the DLI Collection.

The DLI outreach programme brings the DLI story to life and engages with pupils using local stories and hands-on interaction in schools.

The programme delivers cross-curricular sessions using the local DLI story and collection for inspiration, using real objects to handle and explore.

Sessions are normally facilitated by a dedicated learning officer who works with schools and teachers to deliver a session that is engaging and meets the learning styles and needs of pupils.

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “The DLI’s new programme is an engaging and interactive way to teach children the significance of Remembrance.

“In these virtual sessions, which have been made secure to keep everyone involved safe during the coronavirus pandemic, pupils can explore what types of tokens, objects, medals, letters and photos that families would keep in memory of their loved ones, while learning why it is important to remember and tell the stories of those who have served in conflicts.”

For Remembrance the council is supporting The British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal. More information on can be found at www.britishlegion.org.uk

The new Remembrance workshops are almost fully booked but there is still availability for assembly sessions and some slots after the Remembrance period. To find out more, call  03000 266631 or contact dlicollectionenquiries@durham.gov.uk.