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Schools unite for touching Remembrance service

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Local Primary schools Oakwood Avenue and Christ Church united for a touching service of Remembrance for their fallen old boys.

Pupils from the two schools walked down the street to the Padgate Cenotaph, led by Armed Service veterans dressed in World War One uniform, to deliver a poignant service of remembrance commemorating all former pupils who fell in both World Wars.

This year being the one hundredth since the end of World War 1, schools have been encouraged to make their Remembrance events very personal as they trace the stories of their lost soldiers.

With the support of Livewire and Culture Warrington, many schools have been finding out about their special ex pupils who sadly paid the ultimate price. Oakwood Avenue and Christ Church CE schools have researched two of their fallen and will be holding a very special service in their honour.

Harry Kenwright from Oakwood Avenue was in the Irish Guards and died in April 1945 in Germany when his Sherman tank was hit.

John Ratcliffe attended Christ Church school and fought with the South Lancs and finally the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He was killed in France in October 1918.

Both men lost their lives with only a month left of their respective conflicts.

Opening words were provided by Gary Cunningham, Head teacher of Oakwood Avenue and Ian Williams the Head of Christ Church CE.

Children from both schools then told the story of Harry Kenwright and John Ratcliffe and laid a wreath, made in the school, by the names of their former pupils on the cenotaph

Both schools joined together in a beautiful and touching rendition of Peace, Perfect Peace led by Fran Sixsmith of Medley Music for Schools.

LiveWire board member Chris Bent has worked tirelessly with the schools researching the history of former pupils and he was presented with a wreath by Christ Church History Club to take to John’s grave in France on Saturday. Chris Bent in turn presented a poppy cross returned from Harry’s grave to Liliana from Oakwood Avenue

In a very moving and profound presentation, individual pupils came to the front of the gathered crowd and read out the name, battalion and date of demise of each former student from the 2 Primary Schools who were lost in both conflicts. The children then took their place on the Cenotaph giving a very moving visual representation of how many young lives were sadly cut short.

There followed a perfectly respected minutes silence and a recitation of “In Flanders Field”

Representing the Armed Forces Community Hub , who had dressed in WW1 regalia for the service, Arnie Arnold read “For the Fallen”

The service was brought to a close with a final song of remembrance from Fran Sixsmith and the combined school children.

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