In the early morning of today, way before the school day at Beverley Grammar School had begun, 64 red balloons were raised above the school’s pavilion in commemoration of those who gave their lives in past wars, both modern and historical.
Clearly visible at the front of the school, each balloon represents a former pupil who gave their life in World War One and World War Two. The exhibition is intended to remind the staff, students and passing members of the public of all of our fallen from every war and the tremendous ongoing commitment from our current servicemen and women around the world.
The spectacular sight is the centrepiece of the school’s continued efforts to promote the Royal British Legion and Poppy Appeal to its young people. In the past weeks, a vast number of students have been involved in the selling of poppies around school while the head of the History Department Phillip Jackson lead assemblies to all the boys over the course of last week about the kind of work that the Royal British Legion do all year round to support British veterans and forces families.
Suspended almost 50 feet in the air, the display of balloons will be the outcome of weeks of planning and preparation from a handful of dedicated staff and students from the school. The circle was kept small because the project has been retained as a well-kept secret to all but around 10 members of the BGS community who were brought in to make the plan a reality, comprising of the school’s art teachers (who conceived the idea originally), caretakers, fundraisers and a team of 3 students.
One of those students was James Richardson, the School Captain of Beverley Grammar School, who said that “The pavilion is one of the first things we see when we walk into school every day. It’s one of the most impressive, historical buildings on our site and it’s where the BGS war memorial plaques, which list all the past pupils that gave their life in the two Great Wars, are located. To arrive at school on Armistice Day and see 64 balloons, three feet wide, all coloured red like a poppy, to commemorate the soldiers whose names are engraved on that plaque, who walked the same corridors as we do, would be really impactful for me, and will be for the staff and students when they arrive at school today.”
“The project was bigger than anything we had done before for Armistice Day, and it presented some serious challenges and hurdles for a small team of people. From the maths it takes to work out the lengths of rope to get the balloons to float, at different corresponding heights, to the logistical operation of getting 64 giant balloons on top of a fragile building that’s coming up to 100 years old, all without anybody catching us out, there were some real hurdles we faced but thanks to the commitment of everybody involved, we’ve made the concept a reality.”
Photos by BGS and Sam Hudson (Y12 Art student & photographer)
Video by Sam Hudson