Pupils at Archbishop Runcie School in Gosforth hosted a visit by The Farm to show the band how they are learning the history of the World War One Christmas truces.
The visit was organised by the Martin Luther King Peace Committee – a group run jointly between Newcastle and Northumbria universities in memory of Dr King’s visit to Newcastle University in 1967 to receive an honorary degree, Newcastle being the only university outside the USA to honour Dr King in this way during his lifetime. The Peace Committee has produced a resource pack for schools and faith groups to help commemorate the centenary of the Christmas truces - one of the most recognised moments of the First World War, and pupils at Archbishop Runcie school have been using this to research and produce materials. During the visit, the schoolchildren showed singer Peter Hooton and guitarist Steve Grimes artwork they have produced about the Christmas truces and performed a play that they have produced themselves, inspired by the event.
The visit comes ahead of the re-release of The Farm’s classic single ‘All Together Now’ about the Christmas Truces. The single, which peaked at number three in the charts in December 1990, has been re-recorded by a host of music stars who have come together under the banner of ‘The Peace Collective’.
Dr Nick Megoran, Newcastle University lecturer and co-chair of the Martin Luther King Peace Committee, said:
"The Christmas truces are worth commemorating because they are simply so extraordinary and evocative in themselves, grabbing the imagination of even young children. Schools around the country, like Archbishop Runcie School, are using our pack alongside 'All Together Now' to teach the truces. This reminds us of the crucial power of music to challenge and shape the way a society thinks."
Kate Massey, Deputy Head Teacher of Archbishop Runcie First School, said:
"It is so amazing what happened in December 1914, and the truces have really captured the children’s imaginations and inspired them to think about why wars happen and what ordinary people can do to make peace. The children have loved using 'All Together Now' to learn about the truces. The events of December 1914 are truly amazing and their lessons worth remembering, and the song has helped the class engage with the topic. They are very excited that The Farm have come to their class to help them learn. Our school has a strong Christian ethos and the Christmas truces are a great way to help teach our children about the real meaning of Christmas – peace on earth."
Peter Hooton, lead singer of The Farm, added:
"I did an interview with Radio Merseyside in October about the Christmas truces and was introduced to Nick from the Martin Luther King Peace Committee who invited me to come and see the tremendous work being done in Newcastle schools about the 1914 Christmas truces. We have done a few school visits in Liverpool but thought it would be good to witness first hand the work bring undertaken in the North East. We really enjoyed meeting the children and talking about our song 'All Together Now' and this remarkable event in 1914 which resonates through history."
published on: 10 December 2014