On Monday 12 November the artwork was unveiled at the whole school assembly by Sir Bob Russell in his official role as High Steward of Colchester.
Sir Bob Russell said: All involved are to be congratulated on a fantastic project spreading across five years , in engaging so many pupils in learning about The Great War.
Special guests also inluded Captain Dennis Tranham from the 16 Air Assault Brigade (right) and Mr George Lazenby MBE (left) from Colchester Garrison.
Captain Dennis Tranham said: On behalf of all serving servicemen and women of today thank you for your Remembrance of our fallen comrades.
It was a privilege to be a part of such a moving occasion. So much fantastic work by the children with excellent support by so many adults coming into North. Truly a Day to Remember. Jan Blackwell, Chair of Governors
The school’s Remembrance Day Service and Unveiling of the Home Coming artwork will go down as one of the school’s finest days.
Parents gathered in the Junior Hall prior to the unveiling. Lots of staff were present to run the ‘Café’ with drink and food kindly provided by Tesco’s.
The school bell rang for the first time in 24 years to beckon the guests into the Junior Hall in good time for the Last Post and the two minute silence.
One parent commented:
It was beautiful. It was absolutely amazing to think the bell hadn’t been rung for 25 years and we’re standing here listening to it on Remembrance Day.
Before this, the Year 6 pupils reminded everybody of the impact of The Great War on the local community by calling the names of the 76 former pupils on the school Roll of Honour.
The artwork was unveiled by Michael Woods, relation of the four Newell brothers who served in the First World War, two are commemorated on the roll of honour.
The big moment we had all been waiting for!
Headteacher Alan Garnett, project manager Laura Davison and artist Ian Etheridge spoke very movingly of the work of the teachers and children over the course of the three projects.
Then Lily, Hajar, Charlotte, Betsy, Maddie and Joe performed remarkable monologues of people depicted in the artwork and what they did during and after the war.
Afterwards the guests were able to view the artwork up close and look at the exhibition and the wonderful work on display from all the KS2 classes.
The school was opened to the public and it was good to see school families as well as people with no connection to the school. Recent and distant former pupils and staff were in attendance too.
What a day! The comments in the visitors’ book are amazing.
Kate Randall wrote to the Year 6 pupils:
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Remembrance Day service at the School. I was not prepared for what I experienced, your performances were very humbling and it was a privilege and an honour to be in the audience. You really brought it to life, and it was easy to transport myself back in time and imagine myself there due to the content and portrayal of the accounts of those who lived during the Great War.
It was clear to see how much effort, hard work and dedication has gone into the homecoming project and it was delightful to hear you all explaining your individual contributions to your families after the unveiling had taken place. North School is a very special place, made special by yourselves, the teachers and the wider school community, I was a very proud member of the school community yesterday and wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you on behalf of myself and the rest of the NSA. I hope you are all as proud of yourselves as we are of you.
The carving is going to plan and seems to be coming on nicely. The sunburst is nearly completed and has been an interesting challenge to do. I try to cut each stage as cleanly as possible,aiming to leave a crisp finish that does not need hours of work with scrapers and sand paper.
The figures are all set in and I am about to block out the buildings. I will mark out all the detail then settle down to the fiddly bits. I tend to do faces and hands all together as I need to be in the right frame of mind and feeling brave!