Staff and students from St Ethelbert’s Catholic Primary School in Ramsgate celebrated in style on Friday as a series of activities and experiences commemorating World War II came to a end.
With Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday taking place this weekend, the afternoon seemed a timely way to finish their wartime project.
Now I’m a huge fan of the TV series ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ and I could have easily been forgiven for thinking I’d inadvertently stumbled into an episode as I visited the school to find out how the celebrations were going. As I walked into the main reception I had no doubt it was 2017 but, when I stepped into the rear playground area, it definitely felt like I’d travelled back in time to 1945.
The unmistakable voice of Vera Lynn was to be heard singing “We’ll Meet Again” across the courtyard as children in authentic looking war-time costumes played hopscotch, bobbed for apples and skipped in unison. Costumes ranged from soldiers to evacuees and they all looked perfectly in place in the school’s historic grounds.
There were plenty of interactive activities for the children to take part in, including a tug-of-war, potato-on-spoon races and an assault course. My favourite though, and an activity that proved very popular with many of the children, was the military field hospital. I have never seen so many youngsters walking around wearing slings, with bandages wrapped around their legs, arms and heads. Luckily all the parents knew the event was taking place or there could have been a bit of a panic at home-time.
The carousel of activities were brought to an end with the sounding of a bell and all of the pupils congregated in the main playground for a fantastic, and obviously well-rehearsed, sing-song. Several war-time classics were sung proudly and passionately before everyone took to the ‘dance floor for a ‘Jitterbug’.
The main thing that struck me throughout the afternoon, and this was especially evident during the Jitterbug, was how close the students all were. I could see smiling faces everywhere as the students danced their hearts out. I don’t even think they could hear the music as it was being drowned out by the sounds of joy and laughter.
As I left, I was ever so slightly disappointed to end up back in 2017, but I would like to thank the staff and pupils of St Ethelbert’s for letting me be part of their afternoon’s celebration.
Please take a look through our gallery of the event and feel free to share this page with anyone who may be interested.