9th November 2018
Hundreds of staff and students from Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) have this week contributed to activities and events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Across both campuses there has been widespread commitment and dedication to honouring the fallen on Remembrance Day, with activities ranging from the sale of handcrafted poppies through to the creation of large-scale floral displays at the Stafford College campus, made by Foundation Studies students and staff using over 1000 recycled plastic bottles.
Lucy Symes, Foundation Studies Lecturer at Stafford College, said: “As this year marks the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War, we wanted to create something really special. The students have worked incredibly hard for the last month, hand painting and upcycling around 1000 used plastic bottles, and weaving them in to two stunning displays which will be a key focal feature of the Remembrance Day events at Stafford College. The finished display is fantastic and every student involved should be incredibly proud of their contribution.”
Meanwhile, staff at the Newcastle College campus were humbled when taking receipt of a ‘Tommy Silhouette’ statue, kindly donated by Vicky Montford, Cadet Officer and parent of Newcastle College alumna, Megan Montford. The Tommy Silhouette is a transparent seated military figure designed to place a representative figure for every name on local war memorials around the country in their place of worship, school, workplace or wherever their absence was keenly felt. Initially introduced in the Penshurst Church in 2016, they lit a touch paper in the psyche of all who saw them. As a result, more silhouettes were commissioned for use as part of a campaign titled “There But Not There” in communities up and down the country for Remembrance 2018, the centenary commemoration of the end of the 1914-1918 First World War.
Speaking of the donation, Cadet Officer Vicky Montford, said: “The key objectives of the ‘There But Not There’ campaign are to commemorate, educate and heal. Given the educate objective, it felt natural for me to arrange for Newcastle College to be gifted a silhouette to raise awareness of the 888,246 fallen soldiers who gave their lives during World War One. I know first-hand that Remembrance Day is a special event in the College calendar, so I knew the Tommy Silhouette would make a unique and poignant addition to the 2018 ceremony and I couldn’t think of a better permanent home for the silhouette.”
At both campuses hundreds of students were joined by staff, military veterans and current serving officers for a short ceremony which involved a recitation of the poem ‘For the Fallen’ read by student Darren Carter, a musical item where student Chloe Murray performed the song ‘Say Something’, and a scattering of poppy petals before Public Service students laid wreaths at the Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford town centre cenotaphs.
Following the service, HNC in Performing Arts student, Samantha Gulliver, from Stafford, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this year’s Remembrance Service and meeting and speaking with the military veterans that attended. The service meant a lot to me as many members of my family have been and currently are members of the uniformed services and I’m a member of The Royal Air Force Cadets.”
Commenting on Remembrance 2018, Principal & Chief Executive of NSCG, said: “The College’s annual Remembrance Service is always an extremely important event in the college calendar, more so this year with it being 100 years since the signing of the Armistice Agreement. The work that goes in to organising these services by students and staff at both campuses is brilliant and is a great way for the college community to get together and remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.”