Bottesford community’s banner honours war heroes

Bottesford Primary School pupils and volunteers involved in the WWI Bottesford Parish WWI Centenary Project.
Bottesford Primary School pupils and volunteers involved in the WWI Bottesford Parish WWI Centenary Project.
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Following a successful activities day immersing Bottesford Primary School pupils into life during the First World War, the youngsters have united with the community to create a commemorative banner honouring the village’s war heroes.

Inspired by their activities day in September, organised by the Bottesford Parish WW1 Centenary Project, key stage two pupils produced drawings depicting life within the community during the First World War, including how the school contributed to the war effort.

The commemorative banner.

The commemorative banner.

The children then worked with textile artist Sue Rowland to transfer their work on to silk fabric. Volunteer stitchers from the project, and the Vale of Belvoir U3A Sewing Crafts Group, also assisted the pupils with embroidering the names of all the casualties from Bottesford and Muston.

David Middleton, co-ordinator of the Bottesford Parish WW1 Centenary Project, said: “Many of those involved commented that the time spent doing the art and craftwork brought them close to the people and events of 100 years ago.”

On February 11, pupils, staff and community volunteers gathered with eager anticipation at the school to see the banner unveiled. During the special assembly the school orchestra accompanied the children in singing a peace poem, before David read out a letter written home by former Bottesford School pupil Charles Pacey, who was killed in the war. Charles described how easy it is forget all those ‘pals’ and ‘comrades’ who had gone.

David also thanked those involved in the project, and says he was pleased to hear an impressed ‘wow’ in the room, including from headteacher Louise McGrory, when the banner was finally revealed.

Textile artist Sue Rowland highlights sections of the completed banner.

Textile artist Sue Rowland highlights sections of the completed banner.

“It’s been a brilliant team effort between the school and the community,” added David. “A special thank you to Sue Rowland for her inspirational artistic direction of all the children’s, teachers’ and volunteers’ ideas and work in creating this lasting legacy of the First World War Centenary in Bottesford and Muston. We are most grateful for the generous financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

Heather Broughton from the HLF was at the unveiling, as was Sue Rowland. Rachel Moore, key stage two teacher, also thanked everybody for all their hard work.

The banner will be on permanent display in the school’s recently enlarged assembly hall, and more events will be organised to highlight the community’s contribution to the local heritage of the First World War.