Southend Schools Festival
What do you get if you mix a tonne of clay, gallons of red paint, pupils from 25 schools, 60 volunteers and 15 months of hard work? You get the Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance!
SSFR was a partnership project between Blade Education and the Leigh-on-Sea branch of the Royal British Legion and the South Essex branch of the Essex Society for Family History, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund - Our Heritage, Leigh-on-Sea Town Council and Southend Borough Council.
The project began in the Summer Term of 2017 with the SSFR team contacting all of the schools in the borough of Southend to ask if they wanted to take part in our art, research, education or exhibition activities. Slowly but inexorably the numbers of schools wanting to take part grew until it reached 25 - almost half of the schools!
SSFR Promo Video
SSFR Teresa May Clip
One of our ambassador schools was Hinguar Primary School where we not only worked with the whole school from Reception to Year 6 making hundreds of ceramic poppies, but also ran learning sessions with each of the classes using photographs, memory boxes, an actor portraying a Great War Pilot and the stories of people from around the town who lived and died during the Great War period to connect the children with their local heritage.
The first activity was to go and see the Southend Wave, an installation of some of the poppies from the Tower of London that was built on a short pier on Southend seafront and the whole school trooped down for the event. With talks from Southend Museum, art and photography as well as learning materials provided by the project, all of the children had a very enjoyable morning. Then it was time to make poppies of their own!
With Mary Lister, the SSFR Project Artist being ably supported by Val and Bob from the Leigh-on-Sea RBL, the whole of Hinguar Foundation stage and Key Stage 1 made their own clay poppy. Yes it was messy, but oh yes it was a lot of fun!
The Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance went on to make 6000 poppies with 25 schools that were bought together by the SSFR Team and Volunteers to make an amazing exhibition of the children's work on the week before Remembrance Day 2017.
If you would like to see the whole project then you can go to our dedicated website where you will find the full project details along with free Great War resources containing the stories of local people and what life was like during this period.