‘An opportunity to think about the cruelty of war’

Olderfleet Primary School pupils tree planting at Curran Park, Larne.
Olderfleet Primary School pupils tree planting at Curran Park, Larne.

Primary school pupils have been taken part in Holocaust memorial tree planting ceremonies in Mid and East Antrim Borough.

A total of 100 young people from Carrickfergus Model, Buick Memorial and Olderfleet Primary, took their history lessons outdoors at Legg Park in Carrickfergus, Cullybackey’s Shellinghill Park and Curran Park, Larne.

Model Primary School pupils tree planting at Legg Park in Carrickfergus.

Model Primary School pupils tree planting at Legg Park in Carrickfergus.

They planted three ornamental pear trees and dressed the trees with luggage labels filled with their hopes and dreams for the future.

The Mayor, Cllr Lindsay Millar, said: “We hope these tree planting events have given our young people an opportunity to think about the cruelty of war and the impact of division, but also the kindness and generosity of strangers.

“Ornamental Pear trees bloom with white blossom in spring and summer, and have vivid red leaves in autumn. They are now a living, lasting memorial in these local community areas.

“Building stronger, safer and healthier communities is a key priority for council as we want everyone who lives in Mid and East Antrim to feel welcome, safe and respected. Events like these are important to remember our past so we learn for the future.”

The trees were dressed with luggage labels.

The trees were dressed with luggage labels.

The schools were also given copies of Faraway Home by Marilyn Taylor. The story is based on real life events of how Jewish refugee children came to Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

Chris Trussell, from Carrickfergus Model, said: “The pupils were really pleased to be involved in this project. We are working through Faraway Home in class and pupils enjoyed thinking about hopes and wishes for the future based on what they had learnt.

“They especially enjoyed the tree planting and will see the tree each time they pass the park and remember the reason it was planted.”

The tree planting was part of council’s Holocaust Memorial Day (Sunday 27 January) events, organised through the Good Relations Programme.