Youngsters look back at war heroes

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Young people in North Tyneside are finding out what life was really like for those families left behind when the First World War broke out 100 years ago and how the conflict changed life in the region forever.

Using personal letters sent home from the front line, 20 students from TyneMet College will explore the events of the First World War and then compose ‘replies’ to the letters, by putting themselves in the shoes of those whose loved ones had gone to fight.

Run by North Tyneside Voluntary Organisations Development Agency (VODA), Yours Sincerely is a First World War commemorative project, funded thanks to a £4,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project Co-ordinator Jo Woolley, from VODA, said: “As men went to fight the war, mothers suddenly had to take on the roles traditionally associated with father-figures; they had to become the breadwinners and disciplinarians in the home.

“That’s one of the things we’re looking at by reading the letters sent home from the front line.

“The young people taking part are able to get an idea of the impact of the war, particularly on women and the changing trends and fashions that occurred.

“The participants will be composing replies to the letters we have been looking at – imagining themselves in the situation of the original recipients, thinking about how life was and how they might have replied.

Supporting this First World War project, Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “’Yours Sincerely’ will look at the First World War from a different angle and help people in North Tyneside explore the effect the war had on those left behind.”