Pupils' trip to Ypres brings home sacrifice

A BROTHER and sister who laid a  wreath at the Menin Gate  found soldiers who  lived on their school's road on the list of First World War  casualties.

Reece, ten, and Elouise Raynor, nine, of Greenhill Rise, Carlton, travelled  to Ypres to take part in a memorial service earlier this month.

Their wreath took centre spot out of more than 20 laid on the day and they  shared their story with guests at Carlton Library yesterday.

"There were lots of people watching, so we were quite nervous," said  Elouise.


"My hand was shaking at first," added Reece. "It was really emotional."

While in northern Belgium, the siblings joined fellow pupils at Carlton  Central Junior School in searching for the names of local people who died in  the  conflict, which began 100 years ago.

"We found out about a man who lived on Forester Grove," said Reece. "It makes  me proud to find out that so many people from Carlton served in the war. They  were really brave."

The trip followed the school's many First World War lessons, including  researching the 106 names on the local memorial at St Paul's Church and  building  a tank out of recycled

Head teacher Julie Wardle said the project with the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry  Association and St Paul's Church helped engrain the events of the First World  War in the pupils' minds.

"It's about making history real," she said. "It was really calm there when we  went but then you remember it was the scene of such a horrific battle."

The Menin Gate is a war memorial dedicated to British and Commonwealth  soldiers who died in the war, which ran from 1914 to 1918.

Martin Kerry, from the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, was helping visitors to  Carlton Library find their own family links to the Great War at yesterday's  event, and accompanied the children to Ypres.

He said: "To understand all the reasons for the First World War is impossible  but it's great to give these children a chance to explore how it affected their  local area.

"The school made its own wreath, which made it stand out and I think that's  why it was placed right in the middle by The Last Post Association."

Gedling MP Vernon Coaker joined the school pupils on the trip.

"It was fantastic for the children to have that experience," he said. "It's  hard to describe the atmosphere but the pupils did well to be mature and  responsible in such a solemn situation.

"They laid it down in front of thousands of people and I think that will  always stay with them. Trips like this on the centenary of the outbreak of the  war are very important for the children to remember the level of sacrifice that  these people went through."

Mayor of the borough Councillor Jenny Hollingsworth attended the library  event yesterday. "It's great that the school is doing so much with the war,"  she  said. "It's been a massive amount of work and has made it more tangible for  the  students."

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