Bradstow School and community commemorate WWI at Poppy Proms in the Park

Over Remembrance weekend, 10th and 11th November 2018, Bradstow School hosted an inclusive, interactive commemoration of World War 1 at the Memorial Recreation Ground 1914-1918 in Broadstairs.

The aim of the event was to encourage special needs, mainstream young people and the community to learn together in an interactive and experiential manner. Headteacher, Sarah Dunn said:

“It was a privilege to be part of such a truly inclusive and poignant event in the very heart of our local community. Thank you to all those who participated and supported this inspirational commemoration. We all have so much to be thankful for.”

Events started on Saturday 10th November, with a living history exhibit of life during 1914-1918, which gave a glimpse into the home front and beyond with specific detail of events in Broadstairs and St Peters. A life size warhorse sculpture created during inclusive art workshops run by Helen Whitehead at Bradstow and other local schools was on display. The Great War Trench Experience evoked the sights and sounds of life on the Western Front, the Trust for Thanet Archelogy’s time tunnel gave insight into the times and the 6th Ramsgate Sea Scout Group were on hand to teach some essential field craft such as rope making. Refreshments were available from Bessie Caravan, The Red Bean Machine, Larder Catering and Rent-a-Bar – who were serving Gadds Warhorse, brewed especially for Poppy Proms in the Park.

On Saturday evening special guest Sam West told local stories with local narrators; Sarah and Harry Dunn, Paul Gorham, Mike Kemlo, Harry Day, Ros Binks, Robert Hiller and Kerry Millett. Bradstow School choir and dancers were the first to take the stage followed by Inspirations Inclusive Theatre, Thanet Gospel Choir, Thanet Big Sing Community Choir, Kent Show Choir, Gaddzukes, Sea Shanty Singers, Mezza Soprano Rosie Evans, Stage Door Dancers and an orchestra conducted by Edward Greenhalgh joined on Sunday by 3 musicians for Music for Autism. Performers used acting, dance, song and music to bring the Poppy Proms in the Park to life within a large big top tent.

Whilst eventy continued at the Memorial Ground Bradstow School’s #InnocentsStill commemoration took place, with volunteers dressing as soldiers from Broadstairs and St Peters who were lost during the Great War moving around Broadstairs as a living memorial. The Innocents handed cards to the public with details of the soldier they were remembering, their age and date of death and their regiment and rank.

The whole event was free and well attended, with many members of the community braving the wind and rain to be there. Local, Maggie Evans, told Bradstow School how she felt about the performances,

“I was entertained, stirred, and moved, in equal measure. Surely the words from Jerusalem about building a better world were brought to life today in the inclusivity of the performance.”

Thank you to the Bradstow School for sending us this article,  it was good to see special needs, mainstream young people and the community learning together in an interactive and experiential manner. It was also an excellent event which was well supported to honour the commemoration, so we want to say thank you to all those who participated. Photo credits to William Walker Collins and Dan Thomsett.

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