Willows pupils bring wartime spirit back to Thurcroft

The Willows school in Thurcroft held a week of wartime-themed activities
The Willows school in Thurcroft held a week of wartime-themed activities

Anyone walking around Thurcroft last month could have been forgiven for thinking they were back in the 1940s as pupils at The Willows School spent a week learning about World War II.

The Willows is a special school for pupils aged seven to 16 and all pupils engaged in a wide range of activities.

The younger years learnt all about life as Evacuees and made gas masks and suitcases complete with labels.

They played traditional games whilst sat in their air raid shelters and were visited by the Year 11 pupils who were acting as the home guard.

The older pupils learnt about the life in the war year and made full-size Anderson Shelters.

All pupils had a ration book and enjoyed the experience of visiting a war time shop to spend their coupons and re-create some wartime cooking.

At the end of the week family members and members of the community were invited in for a re-creation of VE Day celebrations.

At the party, a brass band from Rotherham Music Services played a selection of old war time songs with which the visitors, children and staff all enjoyed dancing and singing along.

Tom Waller sang a selection of wartime hits and the evocative Vera Lynn hit We’ll Meet Again was sung with great enthusiasm by all.

It was particularly appreciated by visitors from the Laydon Court care home at Maltby, for whom it brought back many memories.

Representatives from Rotherham’s military community veterans centre attended all day and pupils enjoyed having the chance to talk to them and learn about their experiences in the forces

Liz Johnson, who led the team that organised the week, said “I feel the event has been a tremendous success.

“All our pupils have learnt so much by participating in the range of activities we put on for them.”

Anne Sanderson, The Willows head teacher, added “I am so proud of all the achievements of all our pupils who have thoroughly enjoyed this event and of all the staff who have worked so hard to make it such a tremendous success.

“It has been wonderful to involve the wider community too.”