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Stoke Damerel Community College marked 100 years since the start of World War I with a special week of remembrance throughout the College.

The events began on 17 October with a non-uniform day for students, their £1 donations alone raised more than £800 for the Royal British Legion (RBL).

The culmination of the week was a Remembrance Fair in The Street on 23 October, the centrepiece of which was a wall made up of 3,700 acetate poppies and a giant wreath 8ft across adorned with more than 2,600 poppies.

Watch our timelapse film of the wreath being made HERE

The poppies are going to be removed from the wreath in order to be sold and a number of them will be stored and taken by Humanities students to cemeteries in France and Belgium as part of the Humanities War Graves trip in 2015.

Plymouth school marks World War One centenary with special week of remembrance

Representatives from the Royal British Legion attended the fair to thank students and explain how the money raised throughout the week will be used.

“The Royal British Legion is very honoured to be included in the events being organised by the College,” said Carole Arnold, county fundraiser for RBL Devon Poppy Appeal.

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“Our history is so important and it is vital that the youth of today understand what happened in the Great War.   

“The College has excelled itself in explaining graphically about the War and by involving the children 100% in all activities.”

She was accompanied by Petty Officer Stephen Legge who said he was “very impressed” with the students’ efforts.

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In the run up to the week of events World War I has been incorporated into all areas of learning and the fair featured work from students from across the College in a variety of subjects.

“For instance, in Geography, students have been making models of the trenches and in Science they are designing posters about chemical warfare,” explained Mrs Newton, who has co-ordinated the project.

A group of 15 students have been working with Mrs Newton on the project since the beginning of term and performing in all year group assemblies during the College’s Remembrance Week.

Year 8 student Jack said: “It was a very sad time and if you think that school’s hard you just have to think about what they went through.

“It has been a very interesting experience and I’ve learned lots of things I didn’t know about.”

Year 9 student Bethany said she became involved because of her interest in the history of World War I.

“I really enjoyed performing in the assemblies as well – it really built up my confidence,” said Bethany.

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“It’s a sad time to learn about but I think I think it’s important for young people to remember.”

As well as the bake sale and displays there was a raffle with all proceeds going to the RBL and on 21 October Colonel Jon Cresswell from 29 Commando came to speak to students about World War I and life in the forces in the 21st century.

“I am very lucky because I have an amazing group of students who have dedicated many hours to this project and now feel as passionately as I do,” added Mrs Newton who is a Special Educational Needs keyworker.

A display highlighting staff and students’ connections to the forces, past and present was also part of the fair.  

“Many here at Stoke Damerel have a connection to the armed forces and this has been a great opportunity to not only pay our respects to the fallen, but to also help the RBL continue with their support of all servicemen and women,” said Mrs Newton.

“I feel it is essential that this generation understands why this is such an important year and has a chance to pay their respects,” she added.

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