Pupils’ artwork to feature in public commemorative event

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An important objective of the Tynemouth project has been the raising of awareness of the impact of the Great War among the younger generation today, and for whom war is a very remote aspect of their everyday experience.

A hundred years ago that would not have been the case, when most children had numerous siblings and the loss of a father, brother or uncle would have been a common event.

Across the borough almost every street had several men killed or seriously wounded.

Now pupils in a number of the town’s schools have been able to consider the effects of the war by looking at the stories of some of the men who left, never to return, and whose fascinating and often tragic experiences are to be found in the stories uncovered by the project over the past three years.

Local folk artist and musician and creative practitioner Jed Grimes has been working with pupils at a number of schools in the borough, where pupils have looked at some of these emotive personal histories.

Through painting, music and performance poetry, pupils have worked to produce their own interpretations of events in the life and circumstances of the death of men, where in some instances they are considering the story of a man who had lived in their own home streets today.

The work has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as a part of the Tynemouth project and has enabled pupils to get an insight into the life of the town 100 years ago and the effects of the war on the local population.

Pupils have had the opportunity to work through the medium of watercolour painting to interpret their impressions of the circumstances of local men’s war experiences.

On August 3, some of that work will be displayed in Northumberland Square as part of the commemorative event and service to be held from 10am to 4pm.

There will also be the opportunity to see some of the work done as a part of the YMCA ‘Wor War’ project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will open at Tynemouth Station at 6pm on Tuesday, June 24.

That exhibition will be transferred temporarily to Northumberland Square for the August 3 event.

In addition, work done as part of the successful ‘Focus Week’ at Norham High School in December 2013, will also feature in a display of students’ work.

The project’s database, which pupils have drawn on extensively for their artwork, will be launched officially at North Shields Customer First Centre (Library) at 10am on Saturday, 28, when the project will also be staging another public information day with organisations with an interest in the conflict present to give advice and answer queries.

The Information Centre in Front Street, Tynemouth, next door to the library, showing some of the project’s mini-exhibitions, will be open this weekend from 11am to 4pm.

The centre has a range of second hand First World War themed books for sale and has details of all our forthcoming events, including tickets for the production of Death at Dawn, the full-length play commissioned by the project and written by well-known north east playwright Peter Mortimer, which is to be performed at the Linskill Community Centre from September 1 to 6, at 7.30pm (matinee Saturday).

Anyone with information about anyone killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.

The project workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to get involved. The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.