By Thomas Ashton School
Kim McDonough, Arts Co-ordinator at Thomas Ashton School and class teacher for Emin Group along with Mr McBurnie and Miss Jackson explored the history of the Holocaust to help pupils in school to understand why qualities such as tolerance and acceptance of others are so important in us all.
They saw the caption ‘Don’t Stand By’ and immediately thought of the children who were caught up in the Holocaust, and in particular the children who survived, in many cases due to the bravery and compassion of others who did not stand by, but helped the children to gain their freedom and their safety.
Using the imagery of the candle, Kim and her class looked around to see if someone could help make our very own, special candle, and we are extremely grateful to the company ‘On a Wick and a Prayer’ who are based in Tissington, as they agreed to provide a large, hollow candle free of charge.
This candle forms the centre-piece for this year’s school Holocaust Memorial Day display.
Emin class involved pupils from all the other special schools in Tameside in the project, Hawthorns, Samuel Laycock, Cromwell and Oakdale. The total number of pupils involved is around 395!
Each pupil has been given a button with a tag attached, and on the tag is a number and the number is linked to the name of a child who survived the Holocaust.
By writing their own name on the back of the tag, each of the Tameside pupils is linked to the name of a child survivor, the names of whom make up part of the display.
The buttons are attached to the candle and pictures of some of the child survivors are displayed around the Perspex cubes upon which sits the candle. This has also been printed free of charge by Alan Oldham Focus Signs in Stalybridge.
It is a simple sculpture that carries great meaning and significance, especially since one of the child survivors on the list made a visit to Droylsden Academy on Thursday 14th January 2016 in order to speak to the pupils there. Droylsden Academy very kindly invited the pupils from Emin class to attend their assembly where they had the chance not only to meet and listen to Joanna Millen talk about her memories and childhood experiences, but were also able to ask her to put her name on one of our special buttons.
Due to the circumstances at the time, many of the child survivors had their identities changed in order to protect them, and even now those identities remain protected, with records often poorly kept or lost over time.
Emin class would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who have kindly donated buttons for the project.
The candle display will now tour all of the special schools in Tameside to enable pupils from all the schools to attach their buttons and see the memorial they have helped to create.
We hope our children will see the resilience and determination of the child survivors and feel in their own way that perhaps they too, can overcome difficult circumstances in their lives and go on to thrive.