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School Children Remember Servicemen and Volunteers


CHILDREN at a primary school in Woodbridge helped launch our one-month centenary celebration campaign, which honours Suffolk’s past and present volunteers and servicemen.

The pupils of St Mary’s C of E Primary School staged their own ‘Red, White and Blue Remembrance Day’ on FRIDAY 5TH OCTOBER, where they were visited by members of the armed forces, tried on army clothes, saw wartime artefacts including ration books, and heard from our Volunteering Officer Jo Belfield about how volunteering played an important role during The Great War.

St Mary’s was previously judged as the winner of the School’s Garden of Remembrance contest, staged at the Suffolk Show. Its pupils have been learning in detail about the changes in society’s role over the last 100 years, which marks the ending of the First World War. On the day of the campaign’s launch, St Marys School was on BBC Radio Suffolk. Please click on the audio clip below to listed to the broadcast.

Jo was invited to the school to help launch Community Action Suffolk’s countywide campaign called ‘100 years of volunteering – Then and Now’. CAS is adding their voice to Remembrance and reminding youngsters and adults of the continued importance of volunteering in Suffolk.

As a base for a month-long campaign, Community Action Suffolk will be recalling stories of how voluntary work was crucial to support the soldiers of WW1 and their families and communities back home. They will be asking the pupils at St Mary’s in Woodbridge whether any member of their families have a story to tell, and what roles do they think are available for children and adults today.

Also supporting the centenary activity is George Vestey, High Sheriff of Suffolk for 2018.

Headteacher, Karen Read, said a number of her staff are committed to volunteering in their spare time, and that the remembrance event linked with Volunteering Then and Now was a valuable opportunity to help youngsters understand why and how people chose to volunteer in wartime, and why people today decide to volunteer in peacetime.
“The children have heard inspiring stories from their teachers who have volunteered over this summer and why they did so,” she said. “Friday was a fantastic opportunity to go back in time and learn what it was like to be in the army, and learn what schoolchildren and teachers gave then to Britain”.

George Vestey added: ““Linking CAS’s Then and Now Campaign to the School’s WW1 celebrations – where the main focus will be on remembering and honouring our military heroes – is an excellent way to remember and commemorate the thousands of unsung heroes who undertook volunteer roles in the UK to support our armed forces.” He also made the point that the need for such volunteering remains vitally important today in order to enhance the lives of those in need within our community.”

As part of the centenary celebration of volunteering, Community Action Suffolk will also be will also be out and about in the county promoting the campaign, handing out poppy seeds and encouraging those who haven’t considered volunteering before to recognise the many types of volunteering that are available.

Paul White, Volunteer Manager at CAS, said: “We are excited to raise the profile of the many people, ordinary men and women of Suffolk, who did extraordinary things voluntarily during WW1. I really hope that we can commemorate them and encourage their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to do the same.

The intention of the campaign is to inspire more people of all ages to give their time to their community and to visit our volunteering opportunity website Volunteer Suffolk ( to find the diverse range of volunteering opportunities available today. If a person was inspired by a stories of people helping the Friends Ambulance Unit then, perhaps they would consider being a Community First Responder now”.