A Middlesbrough school has created a stunning permanent memorial to more than 3,000 people who lost their lives during World War I as part of the 100-year anniversary.
Acklam Grange School has produced the Remembrance Wall, with the help of Heritage Lottery funding, which lists the 3,137 people from Middlesbrough who died during the conflict.
And they have paired up each and every soldier with students and local community representatives, to help young people at the school have a deeper understanding of it.
Even more remarkably, Acklam Grange is also producing 3,137 ceramic poppies which will be planted within school grounds during a special service on Friday.
Around 2,500 people – including 1,450 students, 200 staff, local primary school children and people from the community – are expected to attend Friday’s Remembrance Service at the school.
The Remembrance Wall project has headed up by the school’s achievement leader Jonathan Lowes and history teacher Guy Whatmore, and has taken 18 months to complete.
“It’s to give the young people a sense of ownership within the school,” said Jonathan, pictured above (left.)
“Each one of the poppies is different, as all the soldiers who lost their lives were different.
“The ceramic poppies go out for the day, but we wanted something that can be there all year round. And rather than just remembering the war, we wanted our students to remember the people who lost their lives.”
The Remembrance Wall has been created with a £9,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and also includes a timeline.
Guy (above right), who has been going out to primary schools to give mini lessons on World War I, said: “With the 100 years coming up, what could we do that was a bit extra special.
“By involving the students, local primary schools and people it then becomes a whole community project.”
The school’s deputy head teacher Jon Tait added: “It’s a lasting legacy for the community, a permanent reflection piece for the community of Middlesbrough and something we’re very proud of.
“For the students it’s more of a modern, eye-catching memorial. But more importantly, they have their own personal connection to the wall. Whenever you can make learning more relevant to students, it has deeper learning connections because they feel part of it.”
Four students gave up their free time up to research the people and stories behind the names on the memorial and they were the first to place their tributes on the Remembrance Wall.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “It is deeply humbling to see students and staff at Acklam Grange honour the memory of more than 3,000 soldiers from Middlesbrough who lost their lives in World War One.
“It is vital we wear our poppies with pride and remember the sacrifice they and many millions made so that we can live our lives free from tyranny.
“It is a testament to students and staff that this symbol of remembrance may be adopted as a national war memorial by the British Legion.
“I think it’s fantastic that students and staff at Acklam Grange have been able to give this to the local community.”