This week we welcomed local primary school pupils, dignitaries and representatives of The Royal British Legion to our annual Remembrance event.

Now in its tenth year, this community event aims to help raise the profile of The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal and to honour those who have served to defend our freedoms and way of life. Guests were welcomed by students – a number of who are also members of local Army Cadet Forces and RAF Air Cadets, and wore their official uniforms to mark the occasion.

A moving visual and audio performance was led by students and cadets in tribute of those who lived, fought and lost their lives in the First World War. Students led readings, guiding the audience through stories and experiences of little known individuals who contributed to the war effort, serving as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by both civilians and Armed Forces.

The event was attended by the Queen’s representative Deputy Lieutenant Tom Fremantle; Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council and Councillor Deborah Merryweather; Retford Town Mayor and Councillor Garry Clarkson; The Lord High Steward of East Retford Derek Turner; pupils from Ordsall Primary School, Retford and Beckingham Primary School, Doncaster; veterans and members of the Retford and District Branch of The Royal British Legion; and members of the community.

Commenting on the day’s service, Ann Hickman of The Royal British Legion was in high praise of the students and cadets, and said: “Over the last four years, we have reflected on the 100 year anniversary of the First World War with our veterans both young and those now in their senior years. We are very fortunate to have a wonderfully caring community here in Retford. And at this time of year, we not only take the opportunity to remember those that have given their lives for our freedoms, but also those that support the Legion in caring for our veterans today.”

Retford Oaks Academy principal, Chris West, added: “It is an honour to work with The Royal British Legion, and for our academy to play a small but important part in the wider Remembrance activities ahead of Armistice Day. It is also a real privilege for our students to have the opportunity to meet veterans from their local community and hear first-hand of the incredible sacrifices that have been made for us all, and which continue to be made by those serving in our Armed Forces. Our academy is very proud to partner with The Royal British Legion, and we thank them for entrusting us with such an important event over the last ten years.”

Following the event, Retford Oaks students will also be creating giant poppies made from a collage of hand shaped cut-outs, made by students, staff and members of the community. The giant poppies will then be displayed in the academy windows in a symbolic gesture of holding hands in Remembrance.