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First World War history brought to life in Padiham

Archivist Ann Clark shows pupils postcards sent home from soldiers, as pupils from St John the Baptist RC Primary School, Padiham,  learn about the First World War.

Archivist Ann Clark shows pupils postcards sent home from soldiers, as pupils from St John the Baptist RC Primary School, Padiham, learn about the First World War.

Two Padiham archivists have brought the history of the First World War to life for hundreds of youngsters in the town.

Coun. Bob Clark and wife Ann, who run the Padiham Archive Museum, have been touring primary schools telling children the story of a tragic soldier who died in the trenches during the conflict.

Former Mayor Coun. Clark and Ann, who is a retired deputy headteacher, did special lessons for the pupils as part of “Little Children Weak” project commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of war.

Children got the chance to role play the parts of the soldier, his parents, the recruiting officer and field hospital nurses to bring the story to life.

The colourful sessions saw youngsters dressing up as the real-life characters and found out about conditions in the trenches on the Western Front where thousands of men lost their lives.

Pupils were shown original artefacts including letters, postcards and badges, brought from the Padiham Archive Museum, to add yet more colour to the tale.

They heard how Padiham soldiers wrote to their sweethearts back home, when war wounded were taken to Huntroyde Hall and that 320 men from the town were killed.

Youngsters from Year 3 to Year six at Padiham Primary, Padiham Green, St John the Baptist and St Leonard’s schools were involved in the unique project which is also being conducted across Burnley.

Some schools had really got into the spirit of the project and one – Padiham Green – created a field hospital in a classroom complete with beds which could be displayed at the Padiham Archive Exhibition in September.

Ann Clark said: “The children were amazing. They came out with some great questions and showed some real knowledge and enthusiasm.

“We were bowled over by how much they knew. We had a great response from all the children and staff at the school.

“I think it has been a great success and a nice way to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.”

Youngsters have also been researching the history of each of the 320 men from Padiham killed in the conflict as part of the project.

Hundreds of pupils from the four schools are set to parade along the Greenway on Monday towards Memorial Park where a public remembrance service will be held from 10am.

 

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