Students Contribute to Holocaust Memorial Service
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Held in Bolton Town Hall, this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day Service was led by Bolton Interfaith Council and supported by Bolton Council, local schools and faith and community groups; the theme was the Power of Words.
Bolton School’s Girls’ Division String Quintet, with an entrancing solo performance by Alice Edwards, opened the event with a moving rendition of ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams. Dave Bagley of Urban Outreach was the Master of Ceremonies and thanked all those taking part and attending the ceremony which takes place 73 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps. The Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Roger Hayes extolled the message of communities working together for peace and harmony and told how suffering is still occurring in the world in places such as the Middle East and Myanmar. After the Candle of Hope Lighting ceremony, the Girls’ Division’s Accidentals sang an enchanting ‘Lacrymosa’ by Howard Goodall before children from local primary and secondary schools read messages of peace and reflections on past atrocities. Councillor Linda Thomas, Acting Leader of Bolton Council, brought proceedings to a close by reflecting on ‘the dark shadow in the history of mankind’ and how such atrocities are based on discrimination, prejudice and hatred of fellow human beings. She told the gathering of the community cohesion in the town, typified by today’s event, and of Bolton being enriched through welcoming so many communities.
Boys' Division pupils' artwork was exhibited at the event. Nineteen pupils from Years 8 to 13 having taken part in an art project to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. They had earlier worked with visiting Holocaust art educator Caroline Slifkin in a session funded by The Holocaust Educational Trust.
Bolton Interfaith Council member and organiser of the event, Chan Parmer, reflected: "It was an excellent commemoration with truly immense contributions and support from many diverse sources. When you have 120 pupils plus staff from 15 schools and another 100 plus people from different backgrounds and walks of life coming together for a 75 minutes service, it says a lot for our town and its peaceful people. The artwork on display from six schools was amazing and showed superb creativity and the wonderful singing and music from Bolton School Girls’ Division and Bolton Music Service added a very unique dimension. Young children walking up to read or sing with zest and confidence and seeing 32 candles burning simultaneously with messages of hope, love, peace and belief in faith was truly inspiring. This was an event which added dignity through unity to people who lost their lives with terrible suffering for their loved ones."
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