Armed Forces children mark Remembrance weekend as Ripon Cathedral calls day ‘a great privilege’
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On Friday, November 10, Ripon Cathedral’s altar was decorated with more than 300 poppy mandalas created by students during 16 workshops in the months leading up to the festival.
Also on display was the “Welcome to Our World” photo exhibition, which featured more than 100 entries to a Month of the Military Child photo challenge earlier this year.
The special day included new art and writing contributions from Colburn Primary School and Leeming RAF Primary School.
Pupils from 24 of the county’s schools attended the service, which was the 11th event to be organised by North Yorkshire Council’s service children’s champions, who support youngsters in the county’s large number of families involved in the military services.
For the second year, the service was live streamed, to enable as many as possible of the county’s 3,560 service children to view it.
To tie in with the “Welcome to Our World” theme, each school took a globe to represent their place in the world.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for children and families, Coun Janet Sanderson, said: “Each year, these services are not only a poignant act of remembrance, but a beautiful celebration of the identity and achievements of the military children whose families make such an important contribution to our county.
“They give this wonderful group of children and young people the opportunity to make their voices heard.”
Among the schools to take part in poppy-making workshops was Risedale School in Hipswell.
The head of art, Jaime Westwood, said: “The pupils loved making them and are so proud to have been able to contribute to an event which means so much to our community.”
Year nine pupil Daniel Hibbins added: “It was a lovely way to remember the sacrifices that have been made by service personnel, to make my world a better place.”
The council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Coun Annabel Wilkinson, said: “In the region of 230 schools around North Yorkshire have service children on roll.
“The schools work throughout the year to support their needs with pastoral care.”
The event was hosted by The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL, Canon Matthew Pollard and Grahame Shepherd, former head of Le Cateau School, who received an MBE for his work in getting Service Pupil Premium funding established.
Dean John said: “It is always a great privilege to host this regional service for the children of military families at Ripon Cathedral.
“The days around Remembrance Sunday are so poignant, not least this year when we are aware of desperately tragic conflicts raging in Europe and the Holy Land.
“It is a particularly important moment for children whose parents give and risk so much through their military service for the cause of our security and world peace.
“The children themselves pay a price when a parent is deployed.
“My hope is that they will leave this service knowing that they are valued and we appreciate the contribution they make in the cause of peace.”