To commemorate Remembrance Day on 11th November, a very special Conversation took place at Age UK Wirral’s Meadowcroft Centre in Bromborough. In partnership with the Joining Forces group, three Wirral High Schools were invited to meet Veterans and hear about their experiences of war as well as discuss what Remembrance means.
All of the students from Birkenhead High School Academy, The Oldershaw Academy and The Mosslands School found the morning interesting and enjoyable. One student said, “it was inspiring, and we were all honoured to speak to such wonderful people”.
A Ukulele group and singer performed songs from the war, followed by a reading and a minutes silence. The students chatted to Veterans in small groups who shared stories and experiences of the war and what Remembrance Day meant to them. John kindly brought along his 1940’s memorabilia collection that students were able to see up close and were fascinated by the technology of the day.
After lunch the groups came together to participate in one big conversation. Sharing experiences and stories of the war, sometimes funny and sometimes sad gave the students a clearer understanding, especially learning the origin of why the red poppy is significant to Remembrance Day. Dykes gave a really moving account of the struggles faced back home of those suffering with PTSD, especially around Bonfire Night when the loud bangs and flashes from fireworks bring back terrible memories. It was something that the students had never thought about until hearing Dykes experience.
At times listening to the Veterans talk about their war time experiences was thought provoking and poignant, but the overriding sense of pride from all the Veterans was inspiring and it was a privilege to share their memories.
Navy veteran Dick, a wonderful gentleman in his 90’s recited an emotional poem and explained “Remembrance Day isn’t just one day for us, it’s every day. We wear our poppy 365 days a year because we personally knew those people, the ones who didn’t come home. We will never forget them”.
Big thanks to Age UK Wirral, Joining Forces, Birkenhead High School, Oldershaw Academy and Mosslands School for making the Conversation such a unique experience for everyone that took part.