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Students' D-Day visit

Students helping to place commemorative flags on the beach.
Students helping to place commemorative flags on the beach.

By Nicola Forman

History came alive in a very emotional way for a small group of students from the Sittingbourne Community College when they took part in commemorations for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

As one of only four schools in the country selected to take part, 20 Year 10 students travelled to Normandy for the two days of anniversary ceremonies.

Involved in a number of ceremonies, including a memorial service at Bayeux Cathedral, the students carried wreaths to signify and show respect for dignitaries including French and Canadian ambassadors as well as British.

They also planted flags on the beach depicting messages from those unable to attend.

The students were also able to meet the Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

But speaking to D-Day veterans was their highlight. Dressed in uniform and adorned with badges and medals, the veterans brought the time alive for the students.

Many stories told of the sheer noise of D-Day and how frightened and scared those who fought in the battle had been.

They spoke of their fallen comrades and showed students where they had been buried.

One student was able to trace his family tree and discovered a relative who had fought and died during D-Day.

The two days culminated in a spectacular firework display over the beach and students took part in their own ceremony to commemorate the heroes.

Laura Sennett, head of history said: “The students’ behaviour was outstanding and they represented both the college and their country.”

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