Children from Hatch Warren Junior School work with dementia sufferers on Second World War performance

Basingstoke Gazette: Pupils with Ray Dunn, Thelma Langley and Geoff Newman, from Newman Court Pupils with Ray Dunn, Thelma Langley and Geoff Newman, from Newman Court

SCHOOLCHILDREN have been working with dementia sufferers to create a performance based on the Second World War.

The pupils from Hatch Warren Junior School, in Basingstoke, teamed up with day-centre visitors at Newman Court for a four-week project to commemorate D-Day.

The children and pensioners worked with Proteus Theatre Company to create the performance based on real-life experience of living in the 1940s.

Funded by Hampshire County Council, the 30 pupils learned about life in the 1940s, from a civilian and armed forces perspective, from the experiences of those attending the day centre.

Participants took part in nine creative workshops, led by Proteus, where the older people shared their memories with the children, which were then dramatised using music and song.

One person recalled air raids over Basingstoke and the devastation caused through the bombings of Church Square.

Others focused on evacuation, rationing, songs and dances of the 1940s and life as children and teenagers during this period.

The project culminated in a performance for parents, pupils and people who attend Newman Court Day Centre.

Shirley Davies, headteacher at Hatch Warren Junior School, said: “It is lovely watching the interaction between the children and older people.

“The question-and-answer session produced some wonderful extra details to the memories they had shared previously.”

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “There is nothing like hearing about first-hand experiences to bring history to life.

“This project will not only help the children get a real feel for what living in the 1940s and through a war was like, but it will also help create a better understanding between the different generations.”

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