St Joseph’s School in Shaw plants Hiroshima tree to mark commitment to peace

St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Shaw has become only the second Oldham school to receive a tree of peace from the Mayor of Hiroshima.

The school is a signatory to the Pledge to Peace, an initiative launched in the European Parliament in November 2011.

St Joseph’s is one of twenty-six schools and colleges in Oldham to have signed the pledge and agree to carry out acts of peace in their communities.

In 2017 and 2018, pupils from the school made paper peace cranes to send to Hiroshima for display in the memorial garden in remembrance of the children who died in the atomic bombing of the city on August 6, 1945.

Now the school has received a sapling grown from a seed that was sourced from a city-centre tree which survived that bombing.

Pupils with Cllr Louie Hamblett, Cllr Howard Sykes and Richard Outram

The first sapling was planted at Ss Aidans and Oswalds in Royton on the UN International Day of Peace, 21 September.

At a special event on October 14, the sapling was planted in the presence of Shaw and Crompton Parish Council Vice-Chairman Cllr Louie Hamblett, Shaw Councillor and school governor Howard Sykes MBE, and headteacher Garry Needle. Also present was the Vice Chair and Secretary of The Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, Maria Ellis and Richard Outram.

Mr Needle said: “We had a fantastic afternoon with our pupils and peace partners planting a tree whose mother was a survivor of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb in WW2. This tree represents a great symbol of hope and the power of nature.”

Shaw and Crompton Parish Council has also signed the Pledge.

Cllr Hamblett, who serves as Parish Council Peace Champion, added: “Sadly, war represents the worst that humanity is capable of.

“The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was one of the most terrible acts carried out in any war and must never be repeated.

“This tree not only demonstrates nature’s capacity for rebirth after destruction, but symbolises the absolute imperative for humanity to sustain and not harm our planet and to live in peace rather than perpetual conflict.”

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