Memorial tree planted

Pupils at St Mary's Catholic High School and Sixth Form in Astley planting a tree to mark Holocaust Memorial Day
Pupils at St Mary's Catholic High School and Sixth Form in Astley planting a tree to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

SIXTH Formers in Astley helped lead their school’s commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day after an emotional trip to a Nazi concentration camp.

Abby Meadows and Shaun Palmer, from St Mary’s Catholic High School and Sixth Form, visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps in Poland last year through a visit arranged by the Holocaust Educational Trust as part of a project called Letters from Auschwitz.

Seeing the horrors of the Nazis’ Final Solution first-hand inspired Abby and Shaun to engage the whole community in marking the memorial day and ensuring the memory of the millions who died in the concentration camps is never forgotten.

They said: “Visiting Auschwitz was an experience that we will never forget. It inspired us to pay tribute to the lives lost in the Holocaust.”

The school marked Holocaust Memorial Day, held last Friday on the anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau’s liberation, with an outdoor service attended by more than 100 people from the school community, with prayers, candles being lit and the planting of a tree to act as a permanent memorial in the school grounds.

Staff and students also raised awareness in the run-up to the memorial day with a series of presentations and discussions in assemblies on the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2012, Speak Up, Speak Out.

The school have also produced information packs with pupils and students writing messages reflecting on genocide and its victims, which have been distributed to local churches.

Head of history Gail Wake said: “We are hoping that parishioners will write their thoughts and prayers just as we have done, and return them to us.

“A display will be created using these thoughts within school to encourage us to continue to remember to speak up.”

LEFT: Pupils at St Mary’s Catholic High School and Sixth Form in Astley planting a tree to mark Holocaust Memorial Day