The Bognor Regis and District War Memorial has been given listed status thanks to a group of primary school pupils.
Heartfelt letters from Year 3 students at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School have been answered with the memorial now officially a Grade II listed structure.
Pupils at the Bognor Regis school first came across their local war memorial, located outside the Town Hall in Clarence Road, as part of an exercise to learn about the First World War.
They were helped to carry out a condition survey and then wrote an application to Historic England to have it considered for listing.
Following the good news, headteacher Peter Edgington said: “The children have been very excited by this project.
“When they participated in the Remembrance ceremony they were visibly moved.
“They found out the history of individual service men and used primary sources of evidence. “I am very impressed by their hard work and resourcefulness.”
As part of their project, the children visited the memorial, took photographs and made detailed notes on its setting, design and overall condition with help from the War Memorials Trust.
After learning about its significance with their teacher, Victoria Foster-Lewis, they wrote heartfelt statements on why it should be cared for and protected for future generations.
St Mary’s found out that their application had been successful on Friday, May 21 and the memorial now features on the National Heritage List for England as a Grade II Listed Structure.
Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, said: “I am delighted that St Mary’s Catholic Primary School has been able to secure listed status for the local war memorial as part of the Heritage Schools programme.
“Teaching young people about the significance of the First World War is vitally important and this programme allows them to engage with both local and national history whilst contributing to future commemorations of those who lost their lives.”
Historic England has pledged to protect 2,500 war memorials by 2018 to mark the centenary of the First World War. Children taking part in the Heritage Schools Programme are being invited to put their war memorials forward for listing.
Lois Gyves, Heritage Schools Programme Manager said:
“The statements the children wrote about the memorial were very moving and it was clear that their teacher, Mrs Foster-Lewis, had done a great job in helping them understand its significance.”
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