Hundreds of schoolchildren come together for Remembrance service at St Mary's Church

Tackley Primary School pupils thanked famous women from the war. Photo: ODST
Tackley Primary School pupils thanked famous women from the war. Photo: ODST

Hundreds of children from five north Oxfordshire primary schools came together for a special Remembrance service at St Mary's Church today (Friday, November 9).

Pupils from St Mary's in Banbury, Wroxton, Deddington, Dr Radcliffe's in Steeple Aston and Tackley filled the church for the service to mark the Armistice Day centenary this weekend.

St Mary's Primary School pupils sang as part of their performance. Photo: ODST

St Mary's Primary School pupils sang as part of their performance. Photo: ODST

The children paid their respects to those who died during the First World War with a variety of songs, performances, readings and prayers before 'sharing the peace' at the end.

St Mary's head teacher Victoria Woods said: "It was really lovely to get all of the children from the local area together with something in common and they all left with a smile on their faces."

The schools are all part of Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) and decided to join up for this year's commemorations.

The performances ranged from a handful of St Mary's pupils reading from the pulpit, to Tackley School children thanking famous women from the war.

Banbury mayor Cllr Shaida Hussain read The Exhortation before a two minutes' silence. Photo: ODST

Banbury mayor Cllr Shaida Hussain read The Exhortation before a two minutes' silence. Photo: ODST

Wroxton School pupils read John McRae's poem In Flander's Fields and Sharron Mullins from ODST did a reading from Michael Morpurgo's War Horse.

Deddington School children then told wartime stories from villagers who would have gone to their school and Dr Radcliffe's pupils performed a dance/play about the war dressed in black with red poppies on their tops.

More St Mary's pupils ended the performances with descriptions of soldiers' conditions and letters home before Banbury mayor Cllr Shaida Hussain read The Exhortation.

After a two minutes' silence, everyone shook hands to 'share the peace' as Mrs Woods said they should remember why the war was fought in the first place.

An example of the children's WWI artwork, this painting was done by pupils from Deddington Primary School. Photo: ODST

An example of the children's WWI artwork, this painting was done by pupils from Deddington Primary School. Photo: ODST

St Mary's vicar Rev Philip Cochrane said the performances were 'brilliant' as he did not know what to expect.

"I thought the use of drama, artwork, story-telling and singing were really enchanting and my sense is by coming together we can do far more than if we did our own thing - I was really impressed," he said.

Cllr Hussain, who is also a teacher at St Mary's, added that it is important for the children to remember those who sacrificed their lives during the war and the service was a great way of doing that.

Children's art from their work about the war has been left on display in church and will be seen by around 850 people, including the Bishop of Dorchester, for the Remembrance Sunday service this weekend.