THE Mayor of Oldham was special guest at Ss Aidan and Oswald’s RC Primary School in Royton to join in their International Peace Day celebrations.
The whole school community of 350 children and almost 30 staff was delighted and excited to welcome the Mayor Cllr Jenny Harrison, her Consort Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, and Richard Outram, Secretary of The Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, for a special assembly outside.
This was the first assembly to have been held since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic over 18 months ago and was fittingly held on Peace Day.
Co-Headteacher Catherine Brogan asked the children to reflect on what peace meant to them and how they could make the world a more peaceful place, before the Mayor and Mr Outram addressed the assembly.
The children also sang their school peace anthem, May Peace Prevail on Earth (which is titled after the school motto) and The Community Song.
Then guests accompanied Mrs Brogan and pupils Loresa and Alfie for a tour of the school and a visit to the school’s peace garden where a sapling was planted.
In 2017, two Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima) visited Oldham to plant seeds which are sourced from the mother trees which survived the blasts despite being near to its epicentre. These seeds have been nurtured and have grown into saplings. Ss Aidan and Oswald’s is the first school to receive a sapling.
During the day, the children also enjoyed a different approach to the curriculum as they explored many aspects of finding and promoting peace, including a peace picnic, prayers for peace and renewing their commitment to the pledge to peace at the school’s peace pole.
Ss Aidan and Oswald’s has a long-standing commitment to promoting peace – personal inner peace, peace in the local community, peace across the country and global peace – and is one of 26 schools and colleges in Oldham to have signed the Pledge to Peace.
For many years with the support of Oldham’s Pledge to Peace Forum, the school has forged strong links with Hiroshima and school communities in Japan.
The pupils participated in a project to make paper peace cranes to send to Hiroshima in remembrance of the child victims of the atomic bombing. A few months later, the school proudly received paper cranes made by the children of Hiroshima.
The Mayor said: “Cllr Mushtaq and I were privileged to join St Aidan and Oswald’s RC Primary School for their World Peace Day assembly and it was wonderful to learn that they would spend the rest of the day exploring and researching ways of finding and promoting peace.
“We were very happy to visit their beautiful Peace Garden and see the special sapling put in place, a strong symbol and reminder of the need to promote peace”.
Mr Outram, Secretary of the Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, added: “After a torrid 18 months, when our peace activities have been on hold, it has been wonderful to be part of this very special event to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace.
“The children and staff at Ss Aidan’s and Oswald’s have again done us all proud in the cause of peace, and it was our privilege to present to them a very special gift – a tree nurtured from a seed sent to us by the Mayor of Hiroshima.
“This seed was recovered from a tree that somehow survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; it represents a hope that there can be peace within us, and amongst us, if we nurture it.”