District remembers the Holocaust

W04240H14   Holocaust Memorial Day at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy.
W04240H14 Holocaust Memorial Day at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy.

STUDENTS, teachers, councillors and churchgoers were among those who remembered the Holocaust and other acts of genocide at a special ceremony on Monday.

Holocaust Memorial Day was observed at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy (SRWA) in Upper Boundstone Lane, Lancing, in a ceremony led by Rev Hadge Hughes, the school chaplain.

Adur District Council Chairman Mike Mendoza spoke to those gathered at the school about the importance of never forgetting the Holocaust and concentration camps such as Auschwitz.

Mr Mendoza said the ceremony went extremely well.

“It was absolutely brilliant and very, very moving,” he said. “I’m very grateful to SRWA for taking this on and was very impressed with how it went.”

There was a contribution from SRWA history teacher Tom Pearson, who spoke about his own experience of visiting Auschwitz.

Two of the academy’s students, head boy Amr Suliman and Tom Robbins, were both involved in a visit to Auschwitz through the Holocaust Educational Trust just before Christmas, when they met with survivors.

They both took the opportunity to speak about their experiences to a wider group of people.

Student singing group Il Voci sang a lament and time was set aside for a moment of reflection.

Following an Auschwitz tradition, those in attendance then placed stones at the foot of a Jewish menorah, the symbolic seven-pointed candlestick.

Rev Hughes said: “It was a very tactile and meaningful event. It was quite moving and on the whole people were very engaged with it.

“As an academy we felt privileged to be a part of it and hope to be able to get other schools on board, and take an active role in remembrance.

“It’s important that young people are reminded of these things.”

The event was preceded by a week of special assemblies at the academy to allow the whole school to take part in remembering the Holocaust.

Staff and pupils from Lancing College took part in a separate memorial service in Worthing, where the school choir performed a song written for the occasion.