Retford Oaks Academy, part of the Diverse Academies Learning Partnership, opened its doors to local primary school pupils, dignitaries and representatives of the Royal British Legion for its annual Poppy Day event on 17 October.
The community event, which has been running at the academy for eight years, aims to help raise the profile of the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.
Amongst the 260 attendees were Retford Town Mayor, Cllr. Helen Richards, Deputy Lieutenant Mrs Janet Richardson MBE DL, Chairman of the Nottinghamshire branch of the Royal British Legion Peter Hopkins, Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council Madelaine Richardson, Lord High Steward Derek Turner and Chairman of Retford Rotary Club Mrs Geraldine Matthews.
Pupils from Clarborough Primary School, Ordsall Primary School and St Peter’s Primary School, Gringley, also attended.
Several students at Retford Oaks academy are also members of the Army Cadet Force and the RAF Air Cadets, and wore their official uniforms to mark the occasion and welcome the guests.
A presentation was given by the Royal British Legion and Retford Oaks Academy Students, which told the story of 1917, the fourth year of World War I.
Commenting on the day’s events, Janet Richardson said: “I was very impressed with the rapt silence in which the audience listened to Retford Oaks Academy’s young people talk about events of 100 years ago; the students were outstanding and the day was put together brilliantly by all involved.”
As the four years of 2014-2018 mark 100 years since World War I, the occasion was all the more poignant. Next year the academy plans to take part in a country-wide event, which will see a ‘carpet’ of poppies grown from Land’s End to John O’Groats, to mark the 100 anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Retford Oaks Academy principal, Heather Widdup, said: “Every year we are given the privilege of hosting this event allowing our students to meet and interact with such an inspirational group of people from their local community. It is important to us that we continue to help our students understand the incredible sacrifices that have been made for us all – and continue to be made – by many thousands of brave men and women.
“We are very much looking forward to continuing this partnership and I am grateful to the Royal British Legion for entrusting us with such an important event every year.”