27th Feb, 2020

Coventry Blitz re-lived at primary school - with help from history and film groups

COVENTRY school children have taken people back in time at an event exploring the effects of the Blitz on the city.

Stoke Local History Group and StokeScreen Film Club joined together with Sacred Heart Primary School, part of the Romero Catholic Academy, to hold an event featuring dramatic film and eye-witness accounts of the Coventry Blitz.

Author and journalist Peter Walters, who narrated the event, and Year 6 pupils Iris Lomas, Evie Szykuta, Matthew Crawford and George McKelvie transported captive audience members back to 1940.

They were shown film footage of Coventry during the Second World War and heard personal accounts read by the pupils describing the devastating effects of the bombings on November 14, 1940.

The main eye-witness account was from Ivy Archer, who at the time was a pupil at Stoke Park Girls’ School where Sacred Heart Primary School is now based, which told her family’s story.

The event not only brought the bombings to life for the audience, which included the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Linda Bigham, as well as pupils, parents, members of the history and film clubs and other local history enthusiasts, but also the pupils who studied the World Wars last term.

John Gore, who co-organised the event and is a member of StokeScreen Film Club, said: “The Blitz marked the city of Coventry profoundly, and this year is the 80th anniversary of the bombings.

“It was excellent to work with Sacred Heart Primary School to hold the event, and meant we were able to hear Ivy Archer’s account in the exact place that she herself went to school.

“The pupils, who were around the same age as Ivy would have been in 1940, were able to tell her story and breathe life into her language.

“Within the history society there are people who actually lived through this and they were also able to share their experiences with the pupils, so the event was a way of encouraging cross-generational conversation.

“The event received a huge amount of support and we had an extremely positive response from all of those in attendance.”

Paul Madia, Principal of Sacred Heart Primary School, said: “We were very happy to work with Stoke Local History Group and StokeScreen Film Club on this project. It was an excellent opportunity for our pupils to hear exactly what life was like at the time of the Blitz.

“The Romero Catholic Academy has written its own curriculum around the World Wars and this was tailored to include the Blitz, which means all of the Year 6 children across the Academy’s seven primary schools have learnt about the huge effect it has had on the city where they live.

“We are extremely proud of the four pupils who took part in the event – they did an amazing job at setting the scene and reading the eye-witness accounts. We also were very pleased to welcome Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Linda Bigham, to the school and would like to thank everyone who attended.”

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