Search site

Young come together at service of reconciliation and remembrance

Young people from the Black Country and Germany will come together to remember those who served and fell in the First and Second World Wars.

They will stand shoulder to shoulder at a special service of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Wolverhampton later this month.

The commemoration has been organised by the Royal British Legion's City of Wolverhampton Central Branch, Wolverhampton Ex-Service Council, High Arcal School in Sedgley and Dr John Goodyear, Director of Studies at the Academy of English in Oldenburg, Germany.

It will see a dozen young people from both High Arcal and the Academy of English join together at the Cenotaph in Wolverhampton for the dual language service.

It will begin with a parade of standards featuring 24 students from the 2 schools, before Dr Goodyear speaks about the importance of peace and cooperation 100 years on from the start of the First World War.

Prayers will be said, followed by the Kohima Homily, Last Post and a minute's silence. Students will then mark the remarkable event on Christmas Day 1914 when British and German soldiers sang Silent Night to one another across No Man's Land. Young people from the Academy of English will sing the German version, Stille Nacht, before the High Arcal School youngsters perform it in English.

Finally, the students will join together to lay wreaths at the base of the cenotaph, which was erected in "Grateful Memory of Wolverhampton Men Who Served in the Great War".

Dr Goodyear said: "That German and British youngsters will stand side by side at this event is deeply symbolic: it shows, as a nation, that we remember the past, but have it in us to reconcile our differences and build partnerships that are based on trust, friendship and cooperation."

Lyndon Purnell, chair of the Royal British Legion's City of Wolverhampton Central Branch, said: "We are very supportive of events of remembrance and reconciliation like this one; it will be wonderful chance for young people from the Black Country to meet their counterparts in Germany and share each other's culture.

"We're hoping there will be a good turnout at this historic event, and I'd encourage families from across Wolverhampton to come along and be a part of it."

Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Mike Heap, added: "It's important that today's generation of young people never forget the sacrifices that their ancestors made in what were terribly dark times in the history of both our nations."

Since 2010, High Arcal School and the Academy of English have established a strong international partnership that brings together staff and students from both countries every year. Most recently, students from the Black Country enjoyed a period of work experience in Oldenburg where they became English Language Teaching Assistants in a number of state schools.

The service at the cenotaph is one of the highlights of a 10 day visit to the Black Country by the students from the Academy of English. During their time in England, they will also spend time meeting members of the emergency services as well as visiting other local sites.

The service takes place on Friday 31 October, 2014, from 11am at the Cenotaph, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton.

  • released: Tuesday 14 October, 2014