A Longridge headteacher is enlisting hundreds of schoolchildren to bring his family’s wartime memories to life in a stage extravaganza he has written himself.
Simon Wallis, headteacher at Barnacre Road Primary School, is using dance, drama, music, and film to deliver his ambitious World War Two production at Preston Guild Hall on Remembrance Day.
Forget Me Not portrays the war through the eyes of a child – Simon himself – who grew up listening to accounts from relatives who lived through those times.
More than 500 children and staff from the area’s schools will take part in the November 11 show, many dressed in khaki, RAF blue, field grey and helmets to evoke the period.
Simon, 49, said: “Many of the people portrayed are no longer with us and those who are still alive, are now in their twilight years.
“We wish to use this event as a moment to stop, reflect and think about the sacrifice made on our behalf.
”We also hope the project will stimulate discussion between the children and their own relatives, so families will have a better shared experience of this historical event.”
The show recalls people such as Simon’s parents, who experienced the Blitz, and another relative who was on a tank landing craft at Utah Beach on D-Day. Scenes are linked by audio-visuals from the period, evoking its sights, sounds and memories.
They include the Battle of Britain, evacuation, rationing, D-Day and 500 children and their teachers dancing to the Big Band sound of Glenn Miller.
The event culminates with a massed choreographed act of remembrance accompanied by a professional violinist.
Simon has poured a great deal of time and energy into the show and is passionate about the need to educate children so they do not forget the sacrifices made on our behalf both in the past and also by our own armed forces now.
His ideas were stimulated by films, music, drama, toys, books, comics and playground games he experienced as a child.
As well as being of educational value, the show will raise funds for the Royal British Legion, supporting service personnel and their families from past and present conflicts.
He is seeking sponsorship for the event and already some businesses have rallied round.
Anyone interested should contact him on 01772 783555.