Wartime living has been brought to life at St John’s C of E Primary School in Worksop.
Pupils have been learning about World Wars as part of the centenary commemorations of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
From building clay trenches in the classroom, to erecting an Anderson shelter outside and creating their own Dig For Victory vegetable patch - these kids have been hard at work.
Parent helpers have pitched in to transform the school garden on Raymoth Lane into an authentic looking wartime community space.
There is even a horse-shaped memorial topiary bush for all the horses that died in the First World War.
“The children have decided to call him Joey after going to see the play War Horse at the Savoy cinema in Worksop,” said Linda Foy, outdoor learning co-ordinator at St John’s.
John Poppleton, whose grandaughter Alicia is a St John’s pupil, has an extra special connection with this term’s topic.
His grandfather George Henry Ingram, fought in the trenches at Loos, France, during the First World War.
He was a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and sacrificed his life for his country.
John has traced his grandfather’s diaries and letters, and has brought them into school for the children to read.
“One of the lines from his letters that sticks in my mind is when he says ‘You ask me if I know it’s Christmas... Every day is the same here. I don’t even know if it’s Sunday’,” said John, of Dinnington.
“From the records we have traced it looks as though he got trench fever. He was taken to a military hospital in Boulongne.”
“The last letter we have is from a friend of his, addressed to my grandmother and dated 21st May 1916. It says he died on a train which was bringing him back to England.”
Another parent helper is Thor Sandford, an ex staff sergeant with the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment (The Black Watch).
“The kids have loved being outside, digging and building things,” he said.
“It’s important that they learn about the two World Wars and what people went through, and continue to go through, to make this country what it is today.”
Linda added: “In wartime it was a community effort to keep everybody’s morale up.”
“That’s what we are trying to do here. This centenary is an opportunity to promote community cohesion.”
Linda and her helpers have planned a very special Family Fun Day on Saturday 28th June.
From 12 noon - 4pm the school yard and field will host a Military Day to coincide with Armed Forced Day.
“Everyone is welcome to come and join in, from every corner of Worksop,” said Linda.
“We’re hoping to welcome people of all ages, from different ethnic communities and backgrounds to celebrate how much we all have in common.”
The day will see the Anderson shelter officially opened by Worksop’s Royal British Legion standard bearer Brian Madden.
Prayers will be read by the Rev Martyn Alvey and the last post will be played.
Music and entertainment will include Thurcroft Brass Band, a wartime fancy dress competition, a wartime Strictly tea dance competition and St John’s school choir.
There will also be a vintage tractor, memorabilia stands, craft stalls, a raffle and a parade from St John’s very own Marching Eagles.
Said Linda: “It will be a fantastic day. But we still need lots of help with things like raffle prizes and a second helper on the barbecue.”
Contact the school on 01909 481540 for more information. Or visit www.st-johns-worksop.co.uk/newsletters where you can enter the various competitions.